Master craftsman and founder of Via La Moda, Hanspeter Winklmayr – also affectionately known as HP in his workshop - has the craft of working leather running through his veins. Having been born into a family of many generations of saddle makers in Europe going back as far as 1691, he could work leather before he could write.
After completing his Masters Degree in fine leather craft and design in Vienna, Austria - the youngest to earn this achievement at the time - his fellow graduates left for Paris, Milan and London, but he arrived on the Southern shores of Africa with unbridled passion, a suitcase and his tools. After 35 years of being in South Africa, there is no going back.
Building a team with the skills required to make the bags according to the standards that were right for Via La Moda was one of the biggest challenges he faced. In fact, it took two years of continuous training to ensure that all standards were acceptable to HP before a commercial product was made available.
The artisans working alongside HP in the workshop are all mentored and personally taught by him. They work with highly specialized, purpose-built mechanical devices and tools, which would be futile if not used correctly with knowledge and skill.
The design process starts by HP imagining the beautiful woman that will carry his bag. He then works backwards and drills into the finest detail.
His view on trends is that fashion by nature is fleeting and short lived, whereas style on the other hand, is the calling card of the sophisticated and never goes out of fashion.
Therefore, the woman who decides to wear one of his pieces is confident in her own style, and not a victim of trends. And that is the woman HP designs for – someone who is comfortable in her own skin.