August 29 2014
Bags, one can certainly say, are in Philipp Bree’s blood. He was born into the BREE bag company, took over the word-renowned family firm in 1998, and launched his own label, PB 0110, in 2013. So although the name PB 0110 may be new to some, the collection’s masterfully minimal bags and accessories are steeped in tradition. We scheduled a transatlantic talk with PB 0110’s German-born founder to find out why his world has always revolved around beautiful bags.
Who is PB 0110? How would you describe your brand?
The idea of beloved objects is the essence of PB 0110. (PB are my initials and 0110, the first of October, is my birthday.) I love objects that grow into our hearts and accompany us through life. I think we all have these curious little objects we do not want to miss. They transcend price, design, beauty, function or rationality. For example, I have a travel bag of natural leather that my father gave me 26 years ago. I’ve been carrying it ever since, even though I have other choices. My emotional connection with this bag is so strong that I would never exchange it for something else.
Of course, it’s impossible to intentionally create beloved objects since what makes them beloved is tied to personal experiences. But I love the idea that maybe, at a certain point, one of our bags or accessories becomes somebody else’s beloved object. So, if I had to put it in one word, PB 0110 is about becoming.
The travel bag that Philipp has been carrying for the past 26 years.
Tell us about your use of different designers for different parts of the collection and your decision to incorporate their initials into the style names
The answer to this question requires a bit more detail.
As I mentioned above, I love when objects become more special over time. That is that reason I decided to use only very traditional materials. I traveled throughout Europe for more than 12 months and selected materials from manufacturers with very rich traditions. Having sourced the materials for the bags, I invited three different designers, whose work I appreciate for being timeless and modern, to collaborate. They are as follows:
Ayzit Bostan - a fashion designer and artist from Munich. She is working on the women’s collection.
Christine Ahrens - a wonderful, experienced bag and shoe designer from London who has designed for houses like Jil Sander and Asprey. She is in charge of the main parts of the men’s collection.
Christian Metzner - a product designer from Berlin. She is working on the men’s accessory collection.
It is a very personal dialogue. I explain the direction I have in mind and then we discuss the first ideas and interpretations of the designers. It is an inspiring process. The only requirement I have is that everybody uses the same materials and colors.
The idea behind this collaborative process is that it’s interesting for my customers to experience new interpretations of the quality materials that they come to expect from PB 0110. To use the designers’ initials to name the bags was logical, since that’s how our own brand name was born.
Talk to us about your materials. What do you use and what makes them unique?
We only use vegetable tanned leather from Belgium, pure brass fittings and 100% linen — both from Tuscany, Italy. The production process takes place in Europe. I choose manufacturers who are experienced with vegetable leathers and whom I can reach by car within a day. Being able to meet them on a regular basis is very important to me.
The AB 3 by PB 0110
Prior to launching your own line, you ran your family's handbag company, BREE. Why did you decide to go out on your own and how do PB 0110's bags differ from BREE's?
My reason for leaving the family business was that I was interested in working more on a concentrated concept. Compared to BREE, PB 0110 is a very small cosmos. The design process, however, is comparable. Aesthetically, we have the same roots, but different interpretations.
How does your German background influence your design aesthetic?
Well, I think it influences me a lot since I was born and raised in Germany and continue to live there today. But, in a way, I don’t see design geographically. I love minimal, poetic works and today we can find this aesthetic direction in almost every country. So I am influenced by minimalism, which is a part of German design history, too.
Which new designs for Fall 2014 are your personal favorites and why?
I do love CM 10 (coming to Roztayger soon) a lot. It is a wonderful spacious and very light bag. The leather is split into 0,7 mm, weighs only 750 grams and is still very durable. I use it for business trips and even for going to the market.
I am especially proud of our new wallets, CM 12 and 13. To develop a new function is quite a challenge, but I think Christian Metzner found a great way to keep the wallet very slim and organized at the same time.
The CA 5 by PB 0110
What famous person, alive today, would you be most honored to see wearing one of your bags?
I do like the work and style of Ambra Medda. On the men’s side, I would be thrilled if artist Ai Weiwei would wear one of our bags. Mr. Weiwei has a wonderful way of bringing out the beauty of traditional materials.
Name two things that inspired your Fall 2014 collection
1. The artist and graphic designer Giorgio Morandi. His work inspired the illustrations for the Fall/Winter collection.
Painting by Giorgio Morandi (1908 - 1964)
2. I always admire the work of Japanese Architect Sou Fujimoto. One of his latest projects was the Serpentine Pavilion in London last year.
Sou Fujimoto. Serpentine Gallery, London 2013.
Name one thing our readers would be surprised to learn about you
I mentioned earlier that the first of October is my birthday. Coincidently, it is the also the day the company was officially founded. I sent our business papers to the registration office at the end of August of 2012, and I was so happy when I got them back and saw the date they were stamped. I never called the person in charge, since somehow it seemed nice to keep the question of whether or not she did it on purpose unanswered.
You may also be surprised to know that we’re in the process of creating our first product that isn’t a bag or accessory. It is a swing. Stay tuned!
Aquarell for the Fall 2014 collection.
If you weren't designing handbags, what would your occupation be?
My second passion is furniture. I would be involved in that somehow.
Shop the PB 0110 collection at Roztayger.
Founded by fashion industry veteran Elizabeth Jeffer-Anerousis, Roztayger offers a timeless and versatile selection of men’s and women’s handbags, totes, wallets, briefcases, travel bags, electronic cases, and small goods made of quality materials.