Founded by former industrial and graphic designer Samantha Rogers (née Duzenman), Australian brand Du Zen! locally manufactures high-quality leather bags in Melbourne, some of which come in unusual but wearable colorways. The brand also ignores traditional industry seasons and launches products on its own schedule. With a focus on deconstructed styles, super simple shapes and plenty of nude hues, the brand was launched in 2015 after years and years of research and development. From belt bags (aka fanny packs) to tote bags, clutches, and backpacks, just about every type of bag has been covered by the brand, and has been since the beginning.
Their latest release, the Sushi Roll Shoulder Bag, is beautifully light on the mark. Rogers spent a lot of time deciding where to put her tag because she didn’t want to compromise the whole look. She tells us, about the Sushi Roll’s pragmatic approach: “I wanted to make a simple, hassle-free shoulder bag that could carry basic essentials. It had to be able to complement any outfit without screaming for attention or getting in the way when walking around town.
Like all bags, black is a mainstay, but there are lush plums, rich greens, metallics and dusty pinks for good measure. Some of the colorways clash attractively, and all balance both heavy and light. Rogers says of the Sushi Roll Bag in particular, “The colorways are simple but crisp and super practical because it’s the kind of bag that can carry you from day to night…and back again. Black and tan have proven themselves when it comes to bags, and green is the new black! We found that people had gone crazy for the Forest Green, we used it on previous products. This is a new base color.
The balance between quality and price also sets the brand apart. These bags are made from high-quality leather and hardware (which Rogers says should be functional but minimal, while still being a design feature), but they’re also reasonably priced. Balancing design, manufacturing, cost and functionality is a solution for Rogers, but she says most solutions come from trial and error and simply rethinking conventional approaches to design.
While Du Zen! will continue to release unique collections and items when it sees fit, the products are sure to evolve. “The industrial designer in me is already looking to other materials,” says Rogers. “So there will always be leather elements since that’s our roots, but we’re definitely looking at other materials for hardware and beyond.”
Browse the Du Zen! leather goods collection online, where the Sushi Roll shoulder bag is now available for AUD$250.
Images courtesy of Du Zen!