FK chats to Joesph, one half of stylish and purposeful leather accessories label, R& Collective. We are excited to have R& Collective debut at the upcoming Brisbane Markets!
Tell us a bit about R& Collective and what products we can expect to discover?
We’re Joseph Thiang & Jean-Paul Malengret – lovers of all things design, style & music. R& Collective is our leather accessories label, developing practical products and solutions. We’re passionate about the organic process of handmade creations. All our products are made locally in Brisbane and our materials sourced from around Australia. It’s a really exciting process to be apart of – to hand pick the leather and see the products through from start to finish.
Our goal as R& Collective is to develop products that meet every day needs. There are so many different options for accessories these days. We want to help simplify the essential accessories and provide solutions that people wouldn’t want to live without.
What are your creative backgrounds and how did it lead you to working together?
We actually don’t have a creative background in the field of fashion or design. Both of us finished studying engineering in 2012 and have been musicians from as long as we can remember. Which in itself is unique, leading us to start a fashion label together. We both really love music and find that it tends to shape fashion trends and styles of today. We decided to translate the styles we’ve learned to love into a label that we hope other people could enjoy.
How has your creative styles developed over time? and what inspires your work?
R& was launched in January this year, so the brand’s creative styles are very much still developing in its infant years!
I (JP) constantly find myself being inspired by innovative design, people that think out of the box, culture and music. Being South African, I have grown up in such a rich culture throughout my childhood which has overflown into the design of our products. You will notice our product names are derived from African wildlife, which is raw, powerful, and meaningful.
I (Joe) lived in Stockholm for a year in 2010. So I’m very much inspired by Swedish style and culture. The Swedes have a very clean and refreshing way of presenting their image – I love the minimalistic impact that many of their labels are producing.
What do you love about living in Brisbane?
Brisbane is small enough that it’s hard to get lost in, but large enough to make new discoveries consistently. The bar and coffee scene has really picked up over the last few years, especially in places like West End and Teneriffe. We love that there’s small pockets of gold hidden throughout the city. From a beer brewery tucked down an industrial street (Green Beacon), to a specialty coffee café on a busy road (Reverends). There’s something for everyone and it’s always exciting to discover new places.
What do you love about working with leather accessories? And what are some of the challenges?
Leather accessories always evolve into a personal product. We love the way the patina of the material changes and shapes to your lifestyle. It’s also a product that connects with your senses – it smells, feels and looks good!
The biggest challenge we’ve had working with leather is sourcing it. The problem with sourcing things locally, is often materials and colours are limited. We’ve grown to love the variations of every material though. Sometimes the tan (used on the Gazelle) will have a different shade or texture to previous orders. As a result, every product becomes unique to its hide.
What can we expect to see from R& Collective at the upcoming Brisbane Markets?
We’re currently working on creating a stall atmosphere that people will connect with. We really value presentation and want to reward people who invest into our creativity. Our full product line will be ready at the markets including the Randpouch (iPhone case), the Randsleeve (iPad sleeve) and Randwallet (card wallet).
We can’t wait to meet all the other designers and patrons of the event. It’s really exciting to be a part of an environment that encourages design and creativity.