So what did she think when she encountered TRUE INDIGO leather for the first time?
"When we first saw this concept at ECCO Leather, we thought 'whoa, this is so cool!', but we were a little bit afraid that some consumers might not fully understand it, because it is so unique and different," she says.
"For SS18, I was looking back at the ECCO roots, the heritage, the history, and what is important for us — the Scandinavian landscape," she says. "A very good example is of the Skagen painters, who lived in a small, remote place, far up in the north of Denmark. They were inspired by a special light, during the day — 'the blue hour' they called it, because at that time, the sky and ocean became the same colour."
"Seeing TRUE INDIGO leather was like seeing these paintings," Sara says. "We were so attracted to the whole concept — the authenticity of the material itself, its colour depth, and a material that is inspired by the richly saturated and faded attitude of indigo jeans — that we decided to give it a try."
Sara says their trials started with their most iconic bag — the ECCO SP2 Doctor Bag — to see how it worked, and that when it was an instant success, they continued playing with more and more styles, throughout the entire collection, including designs like the ECCO CASPER backpack for guys.
They were also excited to hear that their colleagues within the ECCO Shoe Design Studio were planning several casual and formal collections using the TRUE INDIGO leather, including ECCO BIOM STREET and ECCO SOFT 8, so they could work together to create a concept that showcases the uniqueness of each product and leather.
"You can see the beauty of the TRUE INDIGO especially if you have a bag, because bags have big panels — even more than on the shoe. So that's why we really wanted to go for it, and create a whole capsule within the seasonal collection," she says.
"With this leather, each bag is completely unique: for example, with the natural marks of the camel we use in the Doctor's Bags, it really absorbs the indigo colour. So it creates this beautiful, natural, fading colour that is characteristic of the TRUE INDIGO range," Sara comments.
This idea of personalisation and an artisanal approach to making products is something that Sara says she has noticed all around the world, as a trend at recent art and design exhibitions, but truthtomaterials is has always been an essential aspect of ECCO's design DNA, and of Danish design in general.
"There are a lot of designers experimenting with new materials and new ways of making products," she says. "At ECCO, what we really try to do in our products is stick to the material itself, allowing the design to highlight its beauty. And in this case — with the TRUE INDIGO — it is a leather that is living with you, being carried with you everywhere, telling the stories of where you have been."
Wearing a pair of TRUE INDIGO sneakers while she speaks, Sara says she has also tested many of the bags and loves the way you can really see that colour change, as you wear the bag. "The material looks more used and alive, like a pair of jeans, the more you use it. It becomes, somehow, part of yourself — the colour really lives with you."