The Fashion Interview with Isa Kauffman
24th April, 2023
Dentro, meaning “inside” in three languages, is the brain child of Brazilian-born designer Isa Kauffman. Founded in 2020 after stints at Prada, Bottega Veneta, Balenciaga and Acne Studios, Kauffman went on to establish her own label crafting leather bags in timeless designs with an unexpected aesthetic.
Dentro has a compelling behind-the-scenes philosophy, with the designs boldly displaying their structure and the art of construction. Designed in France and made in Italy, the bags proudly show off what is supposed to be hidden; exposed seams and
wayward floating threads become exquisite detail, whilst a clean polished interior remains to be discovered. Kauffman has inverted the classic hand-held accessory
and turned the process into the product in what the brand describes as "a documentary view of craftsmanship".
At its core, Dentro is about focussing on the process at the same importance as the final product and in doing so, the consumer is invited to discover a new perspective where all parts are equally aesthetically relevant.
We caught up with Founder Isa Kauffman who talks about her inspiration, process and the sustainability element behind Dentro.
Fabric of Society: Hi Isa, who or what provides the inspiration for the unique designs that we see in your range?
Isa: My biggest inspiration is the process of making things. There are so many different steps, machines, hand stitches, glues, screws that go unseen in the final product. It’s almost like there is a secret world underneath all the beauty and I want to expose all these secrets.
Fabric of Society: You’ve worked in some of the biggest fashion houses, how has your work evolved since you began your own label?
Isa: My work today is much broader, my universe has definitely expanded. Today I get to work with amazing creatives like different photographers, stylists and art directors that have enriched my references immensely and pushed my work further. Today I get not only to design but also build a complete image of a brand.
Fabric of Society: You were born in Brazil, you’re currently based in Paris and your designs are made in Italy, how do those range of influences merge with Middle Eastern style?
Isa: The core of Dentro is based on craftsmanship and the full admiration of the artisans that have been perfecting their art for centuries. I feel this approach throughout the brand speaks very much to the idea of uniqueness and attention to detail found in the Middle Eastern style.
Fabric of Society: How would you define your latest collection?
Isa: In my latest collection I wanted to develop more on the textures of cracquelé and metallics and also to look into the interpretations of what “inside out” can be. The collection is based on the fine line of beautiful and conceptual.
Fabric of Society: What do you do to track trends and stay in touch with the current consumer?
Isa: Dentro’s universe is very much connected to an idea of timeless bags. I work around traditional typologies of bags and different functionalities. The trend inspiration translates as seasonal colors and also in different materials.
Fabric of Society: How do you choose your fabrics and where are they sourced from?
Isa: I research textures that inspire me, like a wall with aged paint coming out, or a sculpture with battered metal, then I find tanneries that can develop that feeling on leather. So most of what you see in our collection was developed
just for us.
As for our core line, my main concern was to have a beautiful leather that was safer to the environment. Our carryover bags use a leather that uses 75% less water into the tanning process, reuses the rest of the 25% of that water and is chrome and metal free.
Fabric of Society: What is your design process? How do you work from concept to construction?
Isa: I start out with a lot of research, for example the mood and vintage, then I go on to create 3D mock-ups in which I can experiment freely. A big part of the design is also spending days working together with the factory in which we try different finishings and reinforcements together until we find the perfect balance between deconstruction and luxury.
Fabric of Society: Do you have a favourite piece in the current collection?
Fabric of Society: What are the next trends emerging when it comes to accessories?
Isa: These days, I feel like people are willing to experiment more with accessories. They are looking to find a piece that is special and unique to them but also one that tells a story.
Fabric of Society: What can we expect to see in the future from Dentro?
Isa: We are expanding Dentro little by little into other categories, I am very excited about the future developments into the Dentro universe!