If the old adage that two minds are better than one is to be believed, then four minds coming together to innovate leather design is certainly worthy of attention. At.Kollektive, the latest fashion supergroup to make their mark, is turning the sustainable leather industry on its head.
An offshoot of Danish leather supplier ECCO, the idea for the design collective first came to CEO Panos Mytaros as an experimental way to bring fresh perspectives to the world of leather design. At.Kollektive began in 2022, housing its first group of creatives for its Season 1 collection.
“At.Kollektive hosts as the ‘art gallery,’ and the designers and creatives are the artists,” said At.Kollektive in a joint statement. “The idea originated out of knowing what is inside [ECCO] and wanting to get outside.”
Season 1 and the upcoming Season 2 were led by Bianca Saunders, Isaac Reina, Kostas Murkudis, and Natacha Ramsay-Levi, producing their own interpretation of leather work, from fashion and accessories to home goods and furniture. Each designer was afforded complete creative freedom, allowing for limitless inspiration in their work with the collective.
A British designer on the rise, Saunders is known for the sleek menswear designs from her eponymous label. For At.Kollektive Season 2, she evolved where she left off in Season 1, exploring wire-framed designs that appear in constant motion—however, this season sees that same play on malleability without the wires.
Inspired by influences of his youth, German-Greek Murkudis imagines a world in which Francesco Borromini—a leading figure in the emergence of Roman Baroque architecture—meets English punk icon Siouxsie Sioux, creating statement streetwear with an aristocratic flair.
Reina, a Spanish designer with a notable background in fashion and architecture, took a streamlined, seamless approach for the Season 2 collection. He looked to Japanese basketry as a method for making bags, creating purses with a symmetrical, quilted effect. His sneaker and sandal designs are minimalistic, with stitching so discreet it appears invisible.
Having left her position as head of Chloe in 2020, Ramsay-Levi is using her residency with At. Kollektive to explore functionality and shapes through her pieces, displaying work with a slight disproportion. Through this, Ramsay-Levi plays with balance and unbalance with offkilter bag straps and unconventionally rounded, chunky shoes.
These leaps in creativity have one driving force to tie them all together: sustainability. The goal of At.Kollektive is to produce items that transcend trends—to create closet staples that shoppers will keep for a lifetime, rather than just a season.
“We do not create a product just to put something on the market—the world does not need just another bag,” said At.Kollektive. “We want something meaningful to be out there—not to be discarded.”
This sustainable mindset sees new life created from byproducts that are often wasted, such as using leather shavings as a main material. For the tanning process, they utilized advanced technologies, like DRITANTM, which allows for less water use and significantly reduces the environmental impact of their creations.
As a whole, the ECCO Group plans to be completely reliant on renewable energy by 2028, with a goal to reach net zero water discharge by 2030—signaling a major shift in the way leather goods are produced.
As the chapter of Seasons 1 and 2 comes to a close, At.Kollektive will begin work with a new group of designers. And what can we expect from future seasons? The unexpected.
“Our project is ever evolving and will not take one singular form,” said At.Kollektive. “We look to showcase what is possible when creative expression is embraced.”
Photos courtesy of At.Kollektive.