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Meet Dubai-based Roderer, the leather brand making a case for understated luxury

Founder Olivier Birault tells Debonair about their wallets, bags, bracelets and accessories

The idea is that the product and its craftmanship are the highlights.

Where does the name come from?

The name comes from… it’s a secret, we want to keep a bit of mystery around it.

How would you describe your brand’s aesthetic?

Roderer is a contemporary brand. Its aesthetic is a careful mix of elegance, avant-garde and minimalism. Attention to details is paramount to what we do. For example, the brand name is always very discreet. The only visible sign on our items is the Roderer crown, our emblem — it adds a touch of sophistication and keeps people guessing about the brand.

The idea is that the product and its craftmanship are the highlights more than a big logo. Understated luxury is a good way to describe our philosophy.

The idea is that the product and its craftmanship are the highlights.

What inspires the brand?

We are very much inspired by the “less is more” concept that is coming from architecture and furniture design. The great designers of the 20th century such as Mies van der Rohe, creator of the Barcelona Chair, or Charles and Ray Eames, creators of the Eames Lounge Chair, are prestigious references for us. Nowadays, Apple is also a great inspiration — each of its designs looks so effortlessly stylish and echoes perfectly Leonardo da Vinci’s vision where “simplicity is the ultimate sophistication”.

What goes into creating the perfect accessories collection?

The main idea when we create an object is that it should still look beautiful in 10 or 20 years’ time. Not only design-wise but also in quality. It should be able to age beautifully, have a nice patina and be your companion for years. We put a lot of effort in order to make sure that our items will last long. Thanks to our incredible craftsmen, we are one of the only brands to offer a two-year warranty on leather goods.

What informs your choice of cut, material, print, colour etc?

For Roderer, the first principle lies in the “unity of form and function”. So, we always keep in mind the usage that our customers will have of their items. We focus on the essential and get rid of the superfluous in order to provide a great experience. As you know, all our items are handmade and we have the chance to work with leather, a noble material that exists in a great variety of finishes.

Regarding colours, we focus on elegance so black, navy blue and dark brown are our colours of choice. You can’t go wrong with a navy blazer, and it’s the same with a navy blue briefcase or wallet.

Do you have a flagship product, and what makes it stand out?

The Trophy bifold is our iconic product. It is all about pure design and sleek shape. It has no outside stitches, making it powerful and incredibly elegant. The interior is minimalist but thanks to handmade finishes and high-quality Italian leather, it has a strong appeal. The Trophy collection is a great example of innovation and avant-garde design.

What do you think will be the next big revolution in your segment?

The future is definitely about travelling. Air travel will more than double in the next 20 years. So our mission at Roderer is to be at the side of our customers and help them travel in great style — whether for leisure or business. Our goal is to develop our collection in that segment and to integrate more technology that will make travel more enjoyable.

What about the Middle East market appeals to you?

Roderer being a Dubai-based brand, we have strong roots in the region. The Middle East, and Dubai in particular, doesn’t stand still — it’s vibrant, modern, cosmopolitan. It motivates you to bring new ideas, keep innovating and be at the forefront of the pack.

How has the rise of ecommerce influenced your company and strategy?

Roderer is a smart luxury start-up launched in the digital era. I would not have started Roderer if ecommerce wasn’t a thing. Today, thanks to internet, Roderer has customers all over the world.

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