Andrea Kolb, Abury bags, Berlin

posted on: Sunday, 14 July 2013

Abury founder Andrea Kolb with vintage bags from Marrakech

Stunning Kenyan jewellery by Adele Dejak at Abury in Berlin

A hand-beaded bag from Morocco: I want it!

The Abury girls: Andrea, Vera and Anna in their studio

A few years back, while travelling in Vietnam, a great friend saw a pearl bag that she fell in love with. But it was the first day of a ten day trip, so she held off buying it knowing she would find a similar one later. Except that she didn't. And two years on she's still lamenting not getting the, now infamous, pearl bag. I almost had my very own pearl bag incident when I was in Berlin earlier this week.

I had walked past Abury, an incredible bag store which had hand-beaded purses that I have never seen anywhere before. I'm not a huge bag buyer, but these were beyond fabulous. But it was hot and I had other things to do, so I almost didn't go back. Until I remembered the pearl bag incident. And when I went back not only did I happen upon the most amazing jewellery from Kenya and to-die-for beaded handbags from Morocco, I also happened to meet the owner Andrea Kolb.

Let me paint a picture here, Andrea is super, super chic. This was not surprising. But I was very surprised that Abury is actually both a foundation and a fashion label. After living in Marrakech for two years, Andrea developed a school where old artisans pass on the Berber techniques to locals and designers. Abury sell the products and the profits go back to fund the school.

They have been so successful launching the foundation that Andrea spoke at TEDx Berlin and is currently in negotiations to extend the foundation's work to artisans in Bolivia and Bangladesh. I ended up chatting to the Abury girls for ages and Andrea also very kindly took the time to do the Food Style Q&A about Berlin and Marrakech. Danke Andrea!

Best coffee and tea?
Cappucinos and Moroccan mint tea.

What exercise do you do?
I run through Berlin.

Favourite place/city?

Style icons?
I don't follow anyone's style.

Favourite place to eat in Berlin? In Marrakech?
I like our neighbours in Berlin, Napoljonska! In Marrakesh, Cafe des Epices.

What is your guilty wardrobe secret?
I hoard everything. I have clothes from 15 years ago and I still wear them!

What is your guilty pantry secret?
Moelleux: French chocolate lava cakes. (I'm not sure I believe this. Andrea is tiny! - Phoebe)

Where would I find you hanging out in Berlin?
I like to relax in Victoria Park and Mauer Park.

Cat or dog. And what type?
Dogs, though I can't have one with all the travel I do.

Must have interiors item at home?
Mannequins. I dress them up and change their outfits!

Can you cook?
No... I mean yes: if I'm at KochHaus! (A Berlin restaurant that provides you with food, ingredients and instructions to make your meal.)

What blogs do you follow?
Positive Luxury, Eco Age, Style Proofed.

Have you been to Australia?
Yes! I was there for New Years one year and I went to Sydney and Melbourne and drove along the coast. I loved the nature and visited the wine country.

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