Informed by the essential components of architecture – that a product must be solid, useful, and beautiful – Cuero&Mør (meaning “leather well done”) is a line of handcrafted minimalist accessories. Selecting materials based upon the desired emotional response of the consumer, the designers cut and assemble each piece by hand in their Los Angeles studio, from luxurious totes made of supple buffalo leather to a crossbody bag that will age with time and use, exposing the habits and lifestyle of its owner. We spoke with Maria & Pepe, the founders of Cuero&Mør, about transitioning careers and continents, sourcing materials, and the importance of being close to the ocean.
When was Cuero&Mør founded?
We started with the idea of making high-end minimalist leather products during vacation in Spain in 2013. After that, we spent time developing models and prototypes and founded the company in 2014.
You both have very diverse backgrounds. How did you go from studying medicine (Maria) and working as an architect (Pepe) to creating handmade leather goods?
We truly believe that doing what makes you happy is the first key to success. So far, we have found happiness doing what we are doing right now, so the career change was a risk that was well worth it. Architecture is always alive in our designs. We apply the same essential components of architecture values when designing our products. Firmitas, Utilitas, Venustas – that means that our products must be solid, useful and beautiful.
Where, and how, do you source your materials?
We source our leather in Downtown LA. We are doing our best to keep everything local, helping our neighbors’ businesses and trying to grow together. Our leather comes from different places; the suede comes from Italy, and the vegetable tanned leather is from Argentina.
You speak about how you select materials based on the emotional responses that these materials inspire in the consumer. What emotional responses are you hoping to elicit when working with leather and suede?
For example, in the totes, we were looking to design a bag that can be used in your everyday life. With the use of suede and buffalo leather, we achieve the feeling of luxury while keeping the desired organic shape. When using natural vegetable tanned leather, we want to express elegance and simplicity while making the consumers feel that the product is part of themselves. Natural vegetable leather will age with time and use; it is a tough material that will show the consumer’s habits and lifestyle. Nobody else will have the exact same bag. Even if they buy the same model, each of them will be different in a few weeks. Their products will tell their own story.
What made you decide to move from Spain to California?
After finishing University, we were both looking for adventure. Pepe found a job in a great office here in LA and we both decided to move here. LA has given us the tools and freedom to express what we had inside.
You’ve said that you both “need to be close to the ocean”. Is there any significance or role that the ocean plays personally and professionally in your work?
As we were raised close to the ocean, being in the water surfing gives us peace. We would say that it plays a big role in our personalities. It helps us clear our minds and see things in a different way.