The Dyad Bag: Functional, Sophisticated And Timeless
Jessika Balzer co-founded Cape Town based Project Dyad to create contemporary leather accessories. Dyad’s approach to design is experimental and process-based, and the products are always evolving over time. Jessika shares with us her story of creating her brand and the lessons she has learned along the way.
Tell us about Project Dyad? Project Dyad began in 2016 and is a Cape Town-based studio specializing in the design and manufacturing of contemporary leather accessories. It was inspired by the dualities that define all creative processes, ‘Project Dyad’ explores and experiments with the unfamiliar, and it is constantly evolving and refining its original concept with timeless style. It is essentially a fusion of meticulous attention to detail with functional design and innovative construction techniques.
We play with the dualities of line, colour and texture. Each piece is designed to accompany the wearer as a statement piece or to achieve subtle sophistication. But regardless of how one chooses to wear them, all Project Dyad creations are guaranteed to grow more beautiful with time.
How did you get it started? Vincent and I met in 2011 and I started working for him in 2012 under the brand Urban Africa. After working together for 4 years we decided it was time for a new adventure and we started working on the concept of Project Dyad, which then launched in December 2016. Urban Africa allowed us to understand what we believe in, how we want to work with leather and materials and helped us to reach the next level of refinement.
What are the values that the brand follows? Project Dyad’s values are simply to develop work that we truly care about and can manufacture in a socially responsible way.
What do you love most about your brand? I love that there are so many aspects to the process that I am never doing only one thing. Creating products that are made to last and that can be used as a creative expression for our customers is a really special thing. I love being able to connect with different people and seeing our pieces being used and worn by our customers. I especially enjoy seeing people add their own personal touch to how they wear our products – that’s really fulfilling.
Where did the name Project Dyad come from? Dyad is an old Greek word which means ‘something that consists of two elements or parts’. It is definitely a representation of us, Vincent and I. It is this idea that everything consists of two parts, like light and dark, the contrast between the two sides or two parts is what makes something interesting.
Jessika tells us about how she finds her inspiration and how practicality plays a role in her designs.
How do you get inspiration? Inspiration is something that you can’t force. It comes and it goes and you have to be open to it. I get a lot of my inspiration by simply working. Being in the studio is a great way to get new ideas but at the same time, balance is key. Regular breaks and finding a work-life balance is important to keep the creative juices flowing.
Would you say there is something specific that inspires your collection? It is almost impossible to pinpoint where an idea or inspiration comes from. I feel like we absorb so many different impressions every single day, which at some point forms a new idea for a new design. Sometimes it’s simply the need for something that creates a new product. I love seeing people wearing our bags or using our products. I find it inspiring to see them become someone else’s.
Tell us about the importance of creating designs that are both functional and dynamic? In a world where there is so much consumption and over production, it is extremely important for us to create products that are both functional and aesthetically pleasing. To just make something pretty is not our goal. It has to be something that can add value to your everyday life by being something practical that you will actually use.
What is the best advice you have ever received? Trust your gut. It will never lie, and your intuition will tell you what’s right and what’s wrong.