Founded in 2008 in Zurich, QWSTION was the brainchild of five guys with varied international backgrounds—Swiss, Dutch, Austrian, American and French—which explained why they were traveling so much. “The reason for starting the company was the fact that we could not find a suitable bag for ourselves,” co-founder Hannes Schönegger tells CH. “We either had nice looking bags, but no functionality for people who travel a lot. Or we took our functional backpacks to business meetings and everyone thought we just came back from an expedition.” Thus the team set out to answer the “QWSTION”: could bags be both well-designed and also versatile?
Eschewing the label of “fashion brand,” QWSTION considers itself more of a problem-solver, led by two of the partners who are industrial designers. Their tinkering has resulted in patented inventions like the Simple Strap system, which lets you transform their elegant shopper (essentially an upgraded tote bag with snap-lock enclosure) into a backpack when things get really heavy at the farmer’s market. The circle stitches that connect handles to the bags are aesthetically pleasing but also have a function: no matter which direction it gets stressed, the pressure is always similar. Each bag usually has a dedicated pocket for your treasured cellphone, and the bigger pieces have integrated laptop pockets as well as Neoprene tablet pockets and a quick-access pocket for your water bottle.
Most noteworthy is QWSTION’s dedication to transparency. They use environmentally friendly materials whenever possible, opting for natural and renewable fabrics like organic cotton and choosing the more eco-friendly Rudolf Bionic Finish for water-repellency. Their specially developed “Rawcycled” canvas is a blend of organic cotton and recycled yarn (leftover from the production process). This shell gives bags a soft and comfy look. Rather than hiding the fact that they produce in Huizhou, Hong Kong, the team is open with their standards and relationship with the small owner-run factory they work with. “We believe it is much more about how you produce, rather than where you produce,” says Schönegger. “I think one could say we are mindful people, and we think about tomorrow. We all have kids and a family, and it is very obvious that things need to change and improve in order to guarantee some sort of life quality in the future. We try to do our best within our possibilities and see it as an ongoing process.”
Overall, the products—many of which are titled “Simple”—speak for themselves. Minimalists will appreciate that branding has been restricted to the name QWSTION etched quietly into the leather or metal finishings. For the A/W ’15 season, QWSTION has introduced the new seasonal color “organic caribou” to its styles, as well as a few duo-tone pieces. Shop the new organic caribou duotone bags and more online at QWSTION.
Images courtesy of QWSTION