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Olbrish since 1981 - Living and Working in Berlin
"A man who hadn't seen Mr K. for a long time, greeted him with the words: 'You haven't changed at all' 'Oh!' said Mr. K, turning pale." Bertold Brecht

To produce handbags, that are reliable in their functionality without being boring, has been a challenge for decades. Zeitgeist is not a trend, rather it has its own history and transformation. This means to be able to make models that play with the elements of clarity and charm while revealing lasting consistency. And with a bit of lucky, this also means creating models that lose none of their attractiveness through the years.

One spends half of his waking hours at work and this has consequences: "Piece-work is murder". We produce - unusual for this industry branch - without using piece-work scheme, even when the bank would be pleased if we did. Each production series, with all the intermediate steps, such as gluing, folding by hand and sewing are performed by one and the same employee. With their name on the back of our logo label, they guarantee for you the quality of the bag. We want to offer you the best quality of design and fabrication, striving for an exciting spectrum between high-tech and craftsmanship. The cutting is done by an electronically controlled plotter, the manual craftsmanship determines the quality and flair of the handbag.

"Not only you, but also we would like to be able to identify ourselves with the product we produce. Therefore, not only the development but also the production of Olbrish bags take place in Berlin rather than (...). Working together, under one roof allows for fertile ground for ever new ideas for the further development of our products. We are able to react quickly and flexibly to our customer's wishes and adapt our services again and again to suit individual needs. Purchasing materials in German saves on long delivery distances and ensures the ensures the quality of the products (...). By paying a fair salary we assume the social responsibility for our employees. By being based in Germany and producing our products here, we profit from image gain..." (From an interview with Wolfgang Olbrisch at the Eunique Fair for Applied Arts 2011). You are very welcome to pay us a visit on your next trip to Berlin.

We want you, the customer, to identify with a product that is carefully crafted and not primarily associated with a brand. A prominent "Olbrish" logo does not appear on any of our bags. Our name is on the label on the inside of the bag. The design of Olbrish bags should be the characteristic that makes it recognizable, your story adding another dimension. You may recognize our bags in New York and Tokyo as well as in Sauerlach and Bochum.

We are members of the Handwerkskammer Berlin (Berlin Chamber of Crafts), the Bundesverband Kunsthandwerk (Federal Arts and Crafts Associations) and the business association X-Leder. In co-operation with Stanford University USA and the Krupp Foundation we have for several years filled many intern positions with design students from Stanford.

1971 - Wolfgang Olbrish offered tourists of the walled city handmade hippie belts and hand-dyed hair barrettes for sale on Kurfurstendamm. In 1974 the first handbags were inspired by the vegetable-dyed leather game bags from the Renaissance period and the melancholic Art Nouveau era. Using vegetable-dyed leather in a time of ever-scarcer resources was not only an intellectual trendsetter for the Club of Rome.

1981 - Even the Zeitgeist had influence: in the newly formed collaboration with Bernd Goebel, the protest contra the throw-away society was incorporated by using leftover leather scraps for collage designs. It remained on course: custom-made products, handbags for sale, the way he or she - the customer, wanted. Cover B became the company's name, in 2007 it was changed to Olbrish, the GbR (private partnership) became a GmbH (limited liability company), Olbrish Produkt GmbH.

1990 - The first employee, the first team. From now on professionals take over the production in Berlin. After Wolfgang Olbrish finished his studies of fine arts (painting) at the Hochschule der Kunste (art academy) in Berlin surrounded by the "Jungen Wilden" (art movement), it now became serious: No painting, no sculpture, rather the development of a unique language of form: geometric shapes dominate the first handbag collection. Bernd Goebel made sure that the bags were united with their enthusiasts.

2003 - Once on Kudamm - always on Kudamm. In 1971 as a street trader on the sidewalk in front of the stores, now opening their very own store, with their own maturely designed collection, at the prestigious address Kurfurstendamm 210, next to Maison de France.

2006 - Until the end of our days using the production techniques of the 19th century, by option for a computerized cutting machine, the 21st century has arrived in our workshop. The development of a bag still begins with a pencil, paper and scissors, though now new designs possibilities are available - compatible with the softer, sensual design sense of the coming years. The cutting is now undertaken with electronically controlled cutting heads. This is more employee-friendly and resource saving. Their ideas can be implemented more quickly.

2007 - The harvest. The Olbrish collection enjoys a worldwide distribution, is represented at trade fairs in Frankfurt, London, New York and Tokyo, winning international awards. The distinct style of Olbrish has become a unique selling point worldwide.

2011 - Presentation of the Focus Open in Gold to Bernd Goebel, we are already working on the second half of the 21st century. The plan: We want to expand the product range - until now, men have been short-changed. We are dreaming about letting the language of form become even freer. Responsible behavior to employees, customers and the environment will still remain front and center. The transition to the next generation is coming.

"If one... realizes how important time is in creating art then one becomes very thoughtful. Time is a factor of the creative process. Is all has to do with time. By the way, what time is it?" Alfred Hrdlicka

Red Dot Design Award
German Design Award
Focus Open
Hessen State Prize
Bochum Design Price