Behind the Seams
Three floors above the cobbled streets of Neukölln, Lizzy welcomes me into her apartment. Lizzy’s hands are behind every single stitch at Ravel - where artisan textiles become precious objects for everyday use. The iron is out and the sewing machine is on; thread, fabric and zips lay on the table. Lizzy tells me that they are about to become bags that will be shipped off to the US tomorrow.
Hands-on since she was a kid, Lizzy got creative with everything that she could; from building with a hammer and nails, to creating theatrical performances with dance and costumes. It was Lizzy’s Mom that taught her how to sew. These days her creative outlet is the bags and shawls that she creates with Ravel co-founder, textile designer (and as Lizzy puts it - her ‘rock’) Jamie. Lizzy explains to me how they came up with their bag design.
“We brainstormed all the possibilities of what people would be using these bags for and that was the whole idea behind it - design something that people could use in their own way. The shape of the bag has been inspired by vintage patterns as well as elements from bags that I have used and found really useful. I am one of those people who uses a big bag and fills it with all these little bags, I love them! Now we get messages from friends and customers telling us how their bags have become part of their everyday life; full off their make-up or art supplies, or using it as their ‘going out bag’ - which is really cool.
“It has taken time to figure out how to produce these bags… We knew we wanted to work with linen but sourcing the quality we wanted to give to the world was difficult at first. We finally discovered this great company based in Italy and when we made a bag using the sample fabric we received from them, we were like yes, this is it!”
Then there are the challenges that have been unique to producing in Berlin - like dealing with the hard water here.
“We have to make sure there isn’t calcium build-up in the washing machines that we use because it can affect the fabric. There are so many tiny details to consider at every step of the process and we want every aspect of the bag to be the best that it can! Sewing is really the final step in the whole process and after so many hours have already gone in, it’s really satisfying to see it come to life.”