Mini Gypsy Crossbody in Electric Blue Crocodile
I am so grateful to have stumbled upon the Austin based company, Zink Collection. This collection includes some of the most STUNNINGLY simple and well-crafted bags I’ve seen in a long time. They are refreshingly understated and made with some of the most gorgeous leathers and exotics imaginable. It was wonderful to catch up with Zink collection founder and creative director, Ben Freedland.
N/S: How did your company come to be? Did you always know you wanted to launch a handbag and accessories line?
Ben: I knew I wanted to start a company that would be fashion related. I didn’t know it would be an accessory company. I just knew I wanted to make quality products that focused on craftsmanship with a modern classic aesthetic. I am trying to make ZINK into more of a lifestyle brand versus a fashion brand. Meaning we just design and produce quality crafted items to accompany you on your everyday life.
N/S: When did you launch? How has your company grown?
Ben: 2009. We grew from a temporary pop-up to a company focused on wholesale to a company focused on our own retail shops and website. We are aiming to be a niche brand with limited distribution. This way we can control our market as well as making sure we can continue to produce the quality product we stand behind. We always look for the right partners though. Someone who believes in the same message and standards we have and value.
N/S: What would you consider the classic or core bags of your line?
Ben: Our core styles are our Steamship and Boxcar bags in Italian canvas with leather trim or solid leather. The Steamship can be a more of serious bag while the Boxcar is slightly more casual. The classics are all saddle leather and black Italian canvas with saddle leather. We try to keep these always in stock.
Lancaster Clutch – Turquoise Stingray
Stingray Bi-Fold in Cognac
N/S: How does your collection change each season?
Ben: Our client likes to build a personal collection of our bags. She adds to the collection each season based on what she already has or because we are offering a limited edition must-have piece. With this being said we are more about bringing back our core silhouettes each season in new and novel ways. Like different leather types, different social fabrics, or playing with mixed materials. I travel quite often so this inspires our seasonal changes. Inspiration can come from a walk around a spice market or a leisurely walk with my grandfather in Lancaster County, PA. I find inspiration in the littlest of things.
N/S: Will you always have new styles as well as styles that are standard to the collection?
Ben: Each season we take our core sillouettes and use new fabrics, leathers, Ikats, Hand wovens, Indigos, Doi Tungs, etc. We are also trying each season to add a new silhouette. I am working on a hobo, an assortment of open totes and a men’s collection. I don’t pressure myself to launch new styles because I want to make sure when we do that the shape is perfect and provides a solution to something else that my client needs for their personal lifestyle… and will be a style that is added to our core shapes.
N/S: What’s the must-have bag for fall?
Ben: Our must haves for fall are our Camouflage Stingray collection, patchwork stingray clutch, and burnt orange handbag collection for those who live in Texas. We aim to have novelty and newness in our exotic collection each season and the camouflage and patchwork is the first of this. It is being followed up for Holiday in some other really fun and innovative ways… but for now those are a kept secret.
Lancaster Clutch- Patchwork Stingray
N/S: In three words, how would you describe your line?
Ben: Modern, Classic, Craftsmanship
N/S: Who carries a Zink accessory?
Ben: She values quality craftsmanship, but fashion is not necessarily her first priority. Family, friends, life comes before fashion. This goes back to what I say about ZINK being a lifestyle brand.
N/S: Who are your style icons and/or where do you draw your own inspiration and creativity?
Ben: Carla Bruni is my main style icon. I find her life fascinating. She is a supermodel, first lady, singer and a mother… and stunning to look at. I also find educated, hardworking and powerful women fascinating so I draw inspiration from them. These ladies are Hilary Clinton, Ina Garten, Charlize Theron, Martha Stewart… Strong driven women.
N/S: Why was Austin chosen as the home of your shop? How would you describe Austin style?
Ben: Austin, to me, is the New America. A place that likes to support local businesses and where people can be themselves. It’s not only the capitol of Texas, but home to one of the largest universities in the world. Consequently, it is young, old, new, historic and always changing.
N/S: Where is Zink currently available?
Ben: On www.zinkcollection.com and in our shop in Austin at Jefferson Square.
N/S: How do you hope to see your company grow?
Ben: We plan to open more of our own stores in the just the right places. We are about slow fashion so we are taking our time to grow our distribution and to developed our product. But, we do see ZINK in markets like Boston, Nantucket, New Canaan, Greenwich, Dallas, Houston, the Hamptons and San Francisco to name a few.
N/S: What has your lifelong relationship been with design?
Ben: My lifelong relationship has been with quality materials and craftsmanship, not fashion. I like things that people take time to make. Things that become heirlooms and that you have fond memories of using on your everyday journey of life. I love to look at something and have it draw a memory from the past. A moment in time.
N/S: Where do you reside? Where are your favorite places to travel?
Ben: In downtown Austin. I love to travel, period, but I love Asia. There is such a mystique there. I also love going home to Boston where I was raised. Boston is the roots of ZINK. I often say ZINK is New England designed, but with Texas pride.
N/S: What can we expect to come from Zink? Any news or scoop for fall?
Ben: We are launching a handmade in the USA collection as well as turning up the wow factor on our exotics skins collection. The patchwork and camouflage are the first of the new designs we are introducing using gorgeous exotic skins as a jumping off point for something very different, yet deeply beautiful. Every season we work on the craftsmanship to consistently refine our process and make the most fantastic products we can achieve. We will also be introducing a Vintage fabric collection.
We can’t wait! For now, follow Zink on Facebook here and shop their website here.