Designer duo Nino Eliava and Ani Mokia explain the anatomy behind their must-have accessories. Fashion — Aug 27
For a few seasons now, Georgia (the country) has proven itself a destination for emerging designers and trends. It’s where Vetements designer Demna Gvasalia hails from and it boasts serious craftsmanship in the accessories realm, from bags to shoes. But 0711, a handbag brand that has captivated the lenses of street style photographers of every fashion capital, is its export that does it all. Founded in 2012 by Nino Eliava and Ani Mokia, who also started e-commerce site MORE is LOVE, 0711 combines old meets new — ancient crafting techniques with modern materials.
Be it the Copacabana or St. Bart’s styles, which boast traditional Georgian handweaving, 0711 is its own cultural celebration; the bags being named after destination cities enhancing Eliava and Mokia’s worldview when it comes to designing. Below, we caught up with the design duo on what it is about their creations that sees them represented in more than 40 stores worldwide, how they source the textiles that makes them so unique, and what continues to inspire a design duo who has been friends since childhood.
What about accessories speaks to you? As opposed to doing ready-to-wear, for example.
For both of us, old high-waisted denim paired with a good top is basic — but a nice bag always does the trick to the casual everyday wardrobe. Our immense love toward accessories pushed us to start to our brand, but future plans are even bigger; one day, 0711 will branch out from accessories to ready-to-wear.
How do you go about sourcing textiles?
First steps of our production process are supplying raw materials from around the world to our manufacturing team, from Singapore, Italy, the US, and France. For example, we order the best raffia available on the market to decorate our beach bags. Next step are the supply of the frames, which are produced locally by X-Architecture; they laser cut customized plexiglass and plywood shapes that act as the main base of the bags. (It’s almost like a family business, as one of the founders of the company is Nino’s brother.) After that comes the most important part: assembling them. Local artisans work on the process of creating a bag using a one-of-a-kind technique that was developed within our company. The last step is a quality check that involves several intense stages.
What inspires you from season to season?
The starting point and inspiration for the spring 2019 collection, for example, was a movie called Dr. No (1962) starring Sean Connery and Ursula Andress. The beautiful plot and breathtaking scenery of this movie is incorporated throughout the collection.
For resort 2020, we wanted to match different moods and themes. We continued exploring the romantic and noble nature of pearls and tried out new materials, like silk, flax, and raffia. In search of new lines, Nino turned to the extravagant and artistic works of the Catalan architect and art theorist Ricardo Bofill. An iconic figure in the culture of the 20th century, Bofill is known not only for sophisticated office and hotel complexes, but also social housing projects. The composition was sustained in natural colors: pearl, coffee, and khaki. These are the key shades of the collection, too. The avant-garde ideas of the '60s are mixed with current fashion trends.
Who would you say the 0711 woman or customer is?
Our customer is an independent and free-spirited woman/girl, who appreciates and respects the craftsmanship of the accessory.
How do you maintain originality and poise during a time when people are so quick to call brands out for things like sizing/lack of inclusivity, copying another designer, pricing, etc.?
Our team is constantly researching in order to maintain the originality. Nowadays, uniqueness should be praised as competition is high and standing out in a crowd is the struggle.
Why is it so important that each piece is made by hand in Georgia?
Each 0711 hand-woven product is created manually by artisans in Georgia. The artisans are elderly women for whom knitting is a very native and favorite craftsmanship passed on from ancestors. Innovative knitting techniques in organic glass and plywood frames were adopted in 2015, for the most popular style ‘Copacabana’, and we believe it is somehow felt when looking at the bags. Improvising with traditional weaving and shapes, we introduced pearl beaded bags with various models from bucket to tote bags, mixing it with the brand’s multicolor plywood and plexiglass frames. The production of leather styles is also based in Georgia, but from high-quality French calfskin.
What are your hopes for 0711, as a brand?
Our ambition is to be stocked around the world in one or two of the best stores per city. Our dream stockists are Harrods, MatchesFashion, Louisa Via Roma, Net-a-Porter, Dover Street Market, or Lane Crawford. We like to dream big!