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In the bag: Rudsak’s emerging fashion empire
It has been 14 years since Rudsak introduced fashion collections to complement its must-have leather bags. The Montreal company, founded in 1994, has become an all-encompassing lifestyle brand — right down to its toes. Rudsak developed its first shoes last fall and then took a gamble on winter footwear. The company was so successful that it expanded its line to include footwear for spring.
Rudsak’s latest fashion collection is Serengeti-inspired, with urban-safari details. Washed and shrunken military-style jackets feature multiple patch pockets, as do the bags. Trenches and cropped jackets have oversized asymmet rical collars or notched lapels — even simple cotton shirt dresses have peaked, spies-like-us collars. All the styles come in a solid palette of khaki, mushroom, cornsilk or black. The soft yellow, says designer and co-founder Evik Asatoorian, captures “the rising and setting sun in the desert, and the grey has a desert dust to it. They are all soft, natural colours.”
These days, Asatoorian is experimenting with cuir sauvage, or wild leather. “The leather is washed before it’s tanned, so it has a more natural look with the grains showing,” he explains. “It brings out the character.” The next innovation? “Designers are bringing back leather that feels natural and unpigmented. It’s like makeup: The more you put on, the more you hide the person. We’re going back to the pureness of leather.”
Rudsak’s bestselling bag is still the Mailman Messenger for women. “It’s always the same bag with a little twist; sometimes it’s more daring or there are more zippers or accessories on it — rich but not too exaggerated,” says Asatoorian. The idea is to keep it classic but with a street sensibility and to look beyond trends. “You can’t reinvent the men’s blazer,” he explains. “You play with the pockets, the waist or the trimmings or adjust the fit.” Fast fashion doesn’t concern Asatoorian either: “You buy at volume stores for moments, but durbility and styling don’t change overnight for us. Trust me: Tomorrow, you’re not going to say you don’t want our bag anymore.”