Interview with bag designer Stella Achenbach

By Petra Dieners

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As I met Stella in January at Platform Fashion she immediatly seemed super nice to me! Her open and cheerful character also spreads some good mood!

Stella creats designs for her own bag label Stella Achenbach. Stella can also individualise her bags by handpainting them with different colours and patterns after preference of the clients.




What I like the most of her products is the rectangle bag with the fair cord!  The bag is available in more colours.


Last week Lara and I met Stella for an interview. Lara was also really impressed by Stella’s creativity!


When and how did you start your own business?

About a year ago, as I had a break between two internships.


What did you study at university?

I studied fashion design at the ‘Universität für angewandte Kunst’ in Vienna.

After that, my husband moved to Düsseldorf, so I joined him.

I wanted to do something practical, which I had never done before. I have always been interested in leather, but I never got the chance to work with it due to my training. So as I got here, I started a work-experience in a leather factory. I had a lot of fun working with the material, because it is easier to sculpture.


How did you start the idea with your bags?

I applied for an internship with Iris van Herpen in Amsterdam and got accepted. Unfortunatly, I had a two months break in which I simply could not sit still. I started experimenting around with leather and building prototypes. That is how I got the idea to build the external pockets for the bags. The whole product consists of a base bag which is always black in either matt or shiny, and the external pocket which is always made out of natural leather. The pocket can be switched out by using the straps provided, or can simply be used as a clutch or evening bag.

The other special thing about the external pockets is that they are always hand painted by me using ink, indian ink and acrylic paint. The clients can choose a pattern out of 16 different variations.


So you started everything up between those two internships?

Yes, so I made a business plan and got different opinions from counselling centers. I then quit my position as an intern at Iris van Herpen and started with the production of the products. One year later in January 2016 I was already on Platform fashion. I cannot believe how fast everything went!


What did you do earlier in New York?

I did an internship with Marchesa, a couture label which does a lot of red carpet looks. I stayed there for about four months and had a lot of fun!


What are your plans for the future?

New products! I also work with vegan leather now for example and also want to create some prototypes with it.


Is there a fair which you will be attending anytime soon?

I will definitly participate in Pop Up now again. I really liked it there, because there were just a lot of people to talk to there and it is a great opportunity for getting resonance.


Is there a chance to buy some of your products here in Düsseldorf?

Not yet, but there definetly will be soon.


Do you have an online store?



What is your favourite style in clothing?

Avant- Garde.


Who are your favourite designers?

Martin Margiela & the old collections from Hussein Chalayan. For young designers I like the new creative director of Gucci, Alessandro Michele.


In your opinion, what should a woman never wear?

A woman should always be aware of her own figure. I believe that every woman, no matter what body shape or size, can dress herself to her advantage, and I think that is the only important thing there is. Apart from that, you should of course always just wear what makes you feel the most comfortable. If it’s neon pink, then be it. You shouldn’t care too much about what other people think, but you should be aware of your virtues and your flaws.


How would you define style?

Clothing yourself with consciousness.


What is absolute happiness for you?

To find someone who takes you exactly as you are, and supports you in that. In my case it actually is my husband. I don’t know how I got so lucky to find someone this amazing.


Who is your favourite artist?

Jain Makeba, a young musician from France whom I really like.

For art I recently saw the work of the artist Katrin Fridriks. I like her abstract style a lot.


Where do you like travelling to/ would you like to live?

The Maldive Islands!

I really like Düsseldorf, first off because it is a beautiful city and because the people are really open hearted, but also because we have an airport so close by. This enables me to fly somewhere without big issues. Of course I also love London or New York, and it is always nice to spend a week-end there just to meet some old friends. I am not rooted anywhere and I could also imagine living somewhere in the middle of Asia, as long as I get to do what I love.


What is your biggest fault?

Gummy bears!… And everything which has carbohydrates.


Your motto?

Wishes go to freedom.

Luck is a bewitched place.

Come close to you. Move aside….Further I don´t know.


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