The genesis of Inès Bressand’s eponymous accessories label was swift and organic. Her background is in textile and social design; while she was researching for her master’s thesis, she discovered the art of basket weaving in Europe and later, Africa.
Bressand spent three months with artisans in Ghana learning how to create sculptural baskets using a naturally golden straw from the savannah called elephant grass. That’s where her first collection of bags, called Akamae (named for one of the weavers), was born.
Soon after Bressand began displaying the bags on her website, Dover Street Market in Ginza, Tokyo, took notice. “They placed an order and following that opportunity, I decided to participate in the 33rd Hyères Accessories Prize last year.”
BreShe wound up a finalist, and since then she’s been developing her brand with Dover Street Market in New York and Los Angeles, as well as Galeries Lafayette. Bressand is also still doing freelance design work for furniture brands like Mabeo.
“My design practice focuses on crafts, natural materials, and the rich process that goes along with it all,” she says. “Some of the shapes of the bags have been designed on-site with the craftsman, and some of the simpler forms are transformed later with pleats and folds by me in my atelier in Marseille, where I also add the leather handles.”
As she notes, “the shapes of the bags come firstly from the weaving techniques themselves, the spiral movement of the straw and the round form it can take.” She adds, “then, the transformation of the baskets is very similar to a traditional sculpture process, where I’ve manipulated the material in various ways.”
Bressand’s bags certainly bring a new element of artfulness into a crowded market. Basket bags were everywhere in 2018, but hers don’t look quite like anything else.