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The fact that the husband and wife duo behind minimalist bag line Cuero and Mør looks as effortlessly chic as the luxe leather goods they design comes as absolutely no surprise. Pepe Romero and Maria Diaz are the embodiment of their brand, both in terms of their physical beauty and their inherent European design sensibilities. That said, though the two hail from Spain, much of their influence comes from Scandinavian art and architecture.
The modern, functional pieces within Cuero and Mør's collection may also be attributed to the two's previous careers outside the fashion world. Pepe studied—and still works in—architecture and Maria was set to become a doctor upon moving the the United States. A wallet she made on a whim piqued his interest, and it wasn't long before the couple went full-force into creating their sleek line of leather bags and accessories.
Already available both online and in several certified-cool LA shops (LACAUSA and Poketo among them), the young brand is definitely one to watch. We got the chance to learn more from Pepe and Maria about the challenges of simplicity, what local brands pair perfectly with their bags, and which of their products would make perfect gifts this season.
Neither of you have a background in accessories design. What traits have you each learned from your different studies that have helped you in creating this line?
P: Architecture has given me a set of tools and design standpoint. From there, it's not much different to design a chair, a house, or a bag. Everything is user and functionality related if you think about it.
M: One of the most important things I've learned is to observe and analyze. Our line is always designed based in our necessities and the lack of solutions we've seen for them in the market.
The "Mør" part of your brand name is Danish, though both of you are from Spain. In what ways are you inspired by Danish design?
M: The fundamentals of functionality, clean and simple lines, and timeless quality of Scandinavian architecture and design are at our core when the time comes to design.
The leather goods you make are beautiful, yet extremely minimal. Does having this aesthetic make the design process easier or more difficult?
P: Minimalist products are probably the hardest to design. It might look simple, but every detail has to be really thought out. Everything is connected. Any little change to a simple detail would make the whole not work. We hope our clients appreciate the time and effort it took to design each of our products, the number of prototypes and iterations until we were able to get the most minimal yet functional product.
Maria, what bag from the line are you currently carrying and what are your must-have items inside?
M: Lately I'm using our new Bucket Bag in Cognac a lot. I love the versatility of it and the room it has for my everyday essentials. My must-haves are a rose lip balm and shea butter cream from Tokyo Factory—all organic and natural products, a notebook and pen, and a reusable glass bottle with water.
You've managed to successfully weave yourselves into LA's creative makers scene. Who are some other locals in that group whose work you admire and whose product pairs well with yours?
Past collections of your bags were produced locally, but now you're moving production to Spain. Can you explain the reason for this change?
P: That was a really hard decision to make. Until now we were producing the bags in our studio, which was great. We learned a lot about the material: how to work with it, transform it, design with it, etc. But once that was achieved, we were really looking forward to elevating the brand. We want to create minimalist luxury products and as simple as they look, they require a really high end craftsmanship. Spain was always there; we knew of this town where they have been working with leather for decades. It is a tradition that goes from generations to generations. We scheduled a trip just to look around and fell in love with a family-owned factory. They care about the product as much as we do.
It's the holiday season. What are some pieces from the line that would make especially great gifts?
P: The Tote L is a workhorse, a timeless sophisticated bag to carry all day with enough room for your laptop, paperwork, and gym clothes. The Crossbody bag, Bifold Wallet, or Document Holder are good options too: classic and useful complements for your everyday.