Airosa was founded in 2012 by the fashion designer Inês Vicente. One Christmas Inês decided to make a backpack for her sister Carolina so that she could carry her laptop comfortably and with style while cycling to work. The bag was a hit and the two sisters decided to start producing and selling them online and on summer markets.
All the bags are made in a family run business near Lisbon. “Working with a small factory allows us to produce small quantities each time and makes it easier to control the product quality. It only takes us 30 minutes from our studio to the factory, which makes communication very easy.”
Vegan leather from oil
The main material they use is vegan leather. It is a synthetic material that comes from oil. “Although we are aware of the environmental impact of oil, it is a conscious choice we made to use it. It is an extremely light material (making it very transport efficient), it is resistant and waterproof. It also comes in a roll with a geometric shape which means we can use the whole length of the fabric avoiding cut off waste, unlike leather that has an irregular shape. For us this last feature is really important as all our products have straight lines not only for aesthetics but also as a way to reduce waste to a minimum.” The bags’ interiors have cotton linings and the straps are made from cotton rope produced in Portugal.
Why should more companies look into different materials than leather?Firstly, there’s the ethical point. Leather products mean animal suffering. Alternatives to leather offer a cruelty free and still stylish approach. Secondly there’s definitely a need in the accessories industry for leather substitutes. More and more consumers are looking for it and this is a great opportunity for a shift in this industry.
Where does your love for animals come from?
We grew up in a small town not far from Lisbon. Our grandparents had a farm so there were always animals around us. We think that more than loving animals we need to respect them. The current meat/fur industry is disrespectful of both the animals and the environment.
What are the future plans?
We have two main objectives for the future: to expand our range and to grow internationally. Since the beginning we have been focused on just one product, the classic backpack. That has developed organically through its users feedback, but now we feel the urge to try new shapes and new materials. There are a lot of interesting alternatives to leather out there that meet our need for comfort, style and durability. We are also looking into increasing our sales in other countries. We believe that the straight lines and versatility of Airosa backpacks make them an international product so we need to focus on communication to make sure people all around the World get to know us.
Do you deliver worldwide?Yes. For now we only have selling points in Portugal but we sell worldwide through our online store.