New York City is inhabited by millions of people, but somehow the six degrees of separation rule binds us all together. At my old workplace I became acquainted with Noel Veloz, model Luka Sabbat and his fashion designer father Clark Sabbat. By divine intervention, all three have crossed paths and has now smashed their heads together to conjure up a brilliant product.
Coined the Dylan Bag, the multi-functional leather briefcase is a collaborative effort between Clark and Noel’s New York-based accessories brand, Hemincuff. According to Hemincuff, the bag is “made for those who exemplify freedom of expression and a maverick mindset.” The unisex briefcase is made with Aniline leather, fitted with handles, an adjustable/removable leather strap and complimented by sleek silver hardware. Furthermore, it consists of double zippers, two generously sized outside pockets and inside padded pockets.
I recently spoke with the young accessory brand founder about his latest business venture, how he connected with the famed designer and Luka’s involvement in the entire process. Check out our dialogue below:
FRENDY: Man, congrats on the epic collaboration! How did you link up with Clark Sabbat?
NOEL: Thank you very much. I feel like the Universe connected us at the right time. I reached out to him via email and the rest was history. I followed my gut. I first messaged him to send Luka a bag to travel with. He viewed the Hemincuff website and loved what he saw. He then approached me to collaborate with him and Luka on a bag instead. They always say collaborate with people you can learn from. I'm blessed to have Clark as my mentor now and to have Luka and Noah Dillon shoot our campaign. They are all amazing!
You know what's crazy! When I first sent him that email I attached the article you wrote about me on your blog.
FRENDY: That’s amazing. What goes around comes back around at the end of the day. What was the initial step taken to bring the bag to life?
NOEL: Clark and Luka had a bag design they wanted to create for a long time. We both combined our concepts and made a very special bag. I added two square panels, which gives the bag a Hemincuff aesthetic shape to it. Our staple bags will have this concept this year. We created them via my factory in the U.S. and used hardware sourced from Italy. Our beautiful leather was tanned in Italy as well.
The leather we used is exclusively made for this bag. It will age well through the years with its polished rich transparent look. The whole concept behind it was really to create an everyday bag that's unisex and functional. The bag has many pockets to stay organized, 2 laptop sleeves and shoulder strap. It is military inspired and no other bag in the market is like it. Furthermore, Everything is done by hand and takes about 24-48 hours for an artisan to make.
FRENDY: Sounds intense but very useful, especially for the fast-paced New Yorker. How much will the bag cost?
NOEL: $895 for a 100 percent leather bag handmade in the U.S. Many bags in the luxury market are made out of canvas and non-leather materials go for $1200 plus.
We are giving the consumer a timeless and beautiful bag that can be worn for years. It can even be passed on to future generations due to it’s durability + classic design. This isn't a bag that will be hot for one season and die. This is a style and design that can be used every season. We want to create items that will forever remain relevant.
FRENDY: I totally respect that notion. We live in a time where clothing brands are created at an accelerated rate, what compelled you go to the leather goods route?
NOEL: Vadim rebranded Hemincuff to a luxury brand since I sucked in branding.
FRENDY: Who is Vadim? And what kind of brand was it before?
NOEL: Vadim is my Creative Director/Cofounder. Hemincuff was first a t-shirt brand, but my intentions was to flip enough shirts to make money so I can buy leather. I had the ambition but my branding was wrong. Vadim recreated my logo, directed my first lookbook and gave my vision a clear direction.
FRENDY: You obviously have a great relationship with Vadim. How did you guys meet?
NOEL: I met him while working at Diesel and it was like meant to be. We clicked right away. He's honestly my backbone in this whole operation.
FRENDY: What is the inspiration behind the name Hemincuff?
NOEL: I got the name from my dad. When I was seven years old, he said you could see good quality in an item between the hem and the cuff. That was when he starting tailoring. It stuck with me ever since.
Since was a child I was around my father while he created wallets and bags at home. I found it so cool! I just loved watching the process and picking leathers & hardware for his creations. My dad had a manufacturing business and lost it due to shady partners robbing him. We went from living in the lower east side in a clean building to the hood in the Bronx where people pissed in the elevators and got killed in the lobbies. It broke my heart to find out what happen to my dad and from that time I realized my life purpose was to create a luxury leather goods line. I'm living the dream my dad always wanted and for him to be 75 years old watching me do it brings tears to his eyes.
This is not about money and fame man! I just wanted to pick off where my dad left off and be able to share my story with the world of why I went this route. It's a legacy I wanted to build and carry on. I give thanks to my creative director Vadim for helping me bring my vision to life. Without him I'll be nowhere.
Behind the name Hemincuff, we aim to display progression with every new design and bring new concepts to life in order to separate ourselves from the standard. We strongly value freedom of expression through products that can be used as a display of personality and individualism. We want to show the youth that you can have all the odds against you and still become successful! In order to get whatever you want in life, you have to have vision and stay persistent. Once you stick to those principles and add HUSTLE to it that will set you up for success.
FRENDY: Clark is well respected in the fashion industry. Were you intimidated when he stated his interest in working with you?
NOEL: Not at all intimidated. I saw it as an opportunity to work with a mentor I can learn and get advice from. Clark is an amazing person and his work is phenomenal. I see him as another father figure to me because he cares about my future. We both clicked so much with each other because we come from the hood. For us to come together to create is a blessing that I will always be grateful for.
FRENDY: Any stores stocking the collaborative bag?
NOEL: At the moment we are waiting to hear replies back on a few boutique exclusives to carry the bag. We will love to be carried overseas and in the U.S. We just have to wait and see. 1-3 stores will be ideal to keep the exclusivity.
FRENDY: Where is it available for purchase then?
NOEL: You can buy the bag on sabbataccessories.com.
FRENDY: Are you and Clark planning to work on any more products?
NOEL: I feel like in the future we will create other products that will compliment this bag. We both are passionate to create luxury products and to push design to new heights.