How did a fashion student from Central Saint Martins in London end up collaborating with American bag giant Eastpak? "I was obsessed with Raf Simons' Eastpak collection," is how Nicomede Talavera starts the story.
Back in 2008, Eastpak had launched a collection with Simons, which was an instant success. That's since been followed by collaborations with Kris Van Assche, Rick Owens, and Christopher Shannon. Now, 26-year-old Talavera is mingling with the big boys and is already on to his second collection of Eastpak bags, hitting stores March 15.
The British-born designer contacted Eastpak in 2011 while designing his BA graduate collection. "Somehow the email got forwarded to the creative director, and he was just like, ‘Hey, we're interested!'" Talavera giggles. What was originally just a college project ended up being part of Selfridges' White Christmas display in London, alongside Maison Martin Margiela and Alexander Wang. The four-item collection sold out within months.
Eastpak creative director Toon Krympers says, "I presume not many graduation projects are being retailed in Tokyo, LA, New York, and London a few weeks after the show. But Nicomede and Eastpak have proven that good people, quality, and persistence are the perfect ingredients to create products that can make the difference."
Talavera laughs, "I think they chose me because I have this youthful energy. I don't have a clue what to do most of the time, so I just go with the flow." He is being modest, of course: Talavera simply works very fast. He designed the five new styles in just three days. "It was really good that I got to concentrate solely on the bags for just a couple of days. Had I had a whole month, I would have been messing about," he laughs again.
This second collection is a mashup of different types of bags and fabrics; a drawstring bag transformed into a rucksack of leather and quilted nylon with iridescent tags attached to the zipper, sums up the collection. The futuristic idea is further emphasized by using just four colors: navy, silver, white and black. "I was inspired by minimalist Ellsworth Kelly's masterful color-blocking," he says, explaining the limited color range by noting that he's a very "black and white" person.
The line will be available at Selfridges, Opening Ceremony and Oki-ni.com.