Q&A Susan Szatmáry x Lessebo Papers

Written by Art & Culture

Susan Szatmáry is a modern luxury brand founded in Sweden and influenced by Susan's diverse and multicultural background. Susan's vision is to create high-class accessories with a unique identity, offering luxurious simplicity and delicate elegance. Her accessories provide uncompromising quality, timeless luxury, and are designed with exceptional craftsmanship. Susan was nominated as “Future Talent” in 2019 by Nordiska Kompaniet in Stockholm and was awarded the title of “Accessories Designer of the Year” in 2020 by Elle Sweden. She is also the winner of the prestigious “Guldknappen Accessoar” prize by Damernas Värld in 2020.

Why/how did you end up working with bags?
As a child, I was always inspired by my mum's 1960s style. Being surrounded by the vibrant world of clothing and accessories, I developed a deep fascination for the art of design. My interest in leather goods started when I began experimenting with natural leather in the same studio that my mother used to do her ceramics. I wanted to pursue a career as an artist, envisioning myself working in a spacious studio, dedicating my days and hours to painting and creating. It was my true passion. However, when I attempted to apply to Konstfack, I faced difficulty due to my lack of artistic background. Nonetheless, I had always held a strong interest in fashion and enjoyed redesigning my own clothes and shoes. But let's start
from the beginning. During that time, I frequently visited second-hand shops, searching for the perfect leather jacket or shoes.
Despite not having an artistic background, my fascination with fashion persisted. In the early 2000s, I began crafting bracelets and bags using natural leather, which I sold in artistic stores across Stockholm. Later, I pursued a master's course in accessories at Rome's Istituto Europeo di Design. Graduating at the top of my class, I was introduced by the headmaster to an individual who needed an assistant. This person happened to work at Alexander McQueen, and that marked the true beginning of my fashion career.
At McQueen, we created bags and shoes, working on twelve collections per year. The nights were often long, and the work was demanding, but it served as the best training ground. It felt like the right fit, and it was there that I learned the dynamics of working in a creative team and translating ideas onto paper, ultimately sketching them in three dimensions. Following my time at McQueen, I spent a few years in Paris, working at renowned fashion houses such as Céline, Elie Saab, and Paco Rabanne. In 2013, while still residing in Paris, I received an
opportunity to design a bag and shoe collection under my own name for & Other Stories. It added more flavor to my journey, and when I eventually returned to Sweden two years later, I had made the decision to establish my own brand under my name. It took a few years for my mood boards in Paris to materialize into the first collection of bags, which I presented in Paris in 2018. Vogue US was the first to write about the collection, which I named Valisette.
It seems that you're very hands on, how is it working with paper? Paper has always been an integral part of my creative process. I start by conceptualizing designs on paper, which provides me with a tangible representation of my ideas before moving on to the production phase. It's a natural step in the creative process for me to begin constructing the bag using paper before seeing the first sample in leather. In Italian, this technique is called “salpa in
cartoncino.” I always employ this method when designing new bags to explore shapes and sizes before creating the technical sketches. It also helps me better understand my own designs before sending them to the factory. Working with paper offers limitless possibilities. Observing a two-dimensional sheet transform into a three-dimensional masterpiece or work of art is truly captivating.

Has there been anything that was a surprise to you working with paper?
This realization is not groundbreaking, but rather a reminder of how paper is a versatile medium with endless creative potential. Witnessing a plain sheet of paper undergo a metamorphosis into a constructed bag while maintaining the same details and hardware is truly awe-inspiring. The challenge lies in achieving the same result as with a leather product.
Working with paper also offers a special chance for me to exhibit my designs in a fresh light,
incorporating colors I haven't previously explored for my bags, such as vibrant pink and serene sky blue.
Tell us more about the collaboration with Lessebo„,
Together with Lessebo Paper - a premium design paper distributor since 1693 - we have created the exhibition Blossom. The collaboration is a celebration of the transformative power of creativity, talent, and craftsmanship where we have given rise to an extraordinary collection of handmade paper bags. As someone who frequents museums and vernissages, I've often envisioned interpreting my products as an art form that could be showcased on a pedestal. This collaboration has allowed me to achieve that vision by elevating my bags to the level of art. These one-of-a-kind bags are crafted from Swedish heritage organic paper, and I work with only the highest quality materials to realize my vision. The process of shaping these bags into three-dimensional objects is a perfect fusion of these two aspects. The result is nothing short of extraordinary, and I'm thrilled to share this experience with everyone.

About Susan Szatmáry
Susan Szatmáry is a modern luxury brand founded in Sweden, influenced by Susan’s multitude and diverse cultural background. Susan ́s vision is to create high end accessories with a unique identity, that provide luxurious simplicity and delicate elegance. Her accessories offer uncompromising quality, timeless luxury, and are designed with impeccable craftsmanship. Susan Was nominated as “Future Talent” in 2019 with Nordiska Kompaniet in Stockholm and was awarded as “Accessories Designer of the year” 2020 for Elle Sweden and a winner of the prestigious Prize “Guldknappen Accessoar” Gold Button Accessories with Damersnasvärld 2020.

About Lessebo Papers
Lessebo Paper is a boutique paper mill with minimal footprint and maximum possibilities. Situated in a densely forested area in southern Sweden, Lessebo has been utilizing timber from the same forests and water from the same lakes since 1693. The company's deep-rooted cultural appreciation for nature has instilled an understanding of sustainable relationships with the environment. Lessebo has developed one of the most climate friendly, high-quality papers in the world. The paper is fully biodegradable and recyclable, with all production site energy sourced exclusively from biomass fuel. The excess renewable energy generated from production is utilized to supply district heating to local homes.

Lessebo’s papers are often used for timeless and desirable luxury packaging applications such as paper bags or boxes, or for high quality print such as coffee table books or invitations. The company works closely with environmentally conscious brands, seeking a premium experience with no compromises. By respecting the environment today, Lessebo Paper acknowledges its responsibility towards future generations. This philosophy, which has been upheld for over 300 years, is more relevant than ever. Lessebo Paper artisans are constantly thinking ahead, continuing a tradition of sustainable paper production since 1693.