The collaboration is the fourth installment in the brand’s Artisan Series, where the heritage leather goods brand works with female artisans across all genres on small batch collections. The Karen Elson assortment is made up of 55 bags, priced from $228 to $458, and use one-of-a-kind hand-painted illustrations by artist Costanza Theodoli-Braschi. The designs are centered on a theme called “Oh My Goddess.”
“My inspiration for the bags was to celebrate women by using symbols of femininity to empower,” Elson explained. The bags will include painted artwork such as snakes, wild flowers, fauna, pearls, beetles and phrases. “Cosi’s [Theodoli-Braschi’s] artwork beautifully exemplifies these historical gender connections,” she added.
“I am most inspired by the original, authentic creators who redefine how we view things and do it with individuality and confidence,” said Hobo design director and founder Koren Ray. “I was incredibly excited to see Karen put her touch on our leather bags and the Oh My Goddess collection. As a woman and mother, Karen’s vision surrounding female love, acceptance and empowerment speaks to me and became the perfect narrative for this collection.”
As part of Hobo’s #livethecode charitable platform, the brand will donate 100 percent of the proceeds of each bag sold to the Girlgaze Foundation, a nonprofit vertical of the online jobs marketplace and creative agency for diverse and inclusive female-identifying non-binary creatives, founded by entrepreneur, journalist and activist Amanda de Cadenet.
“Girlgaze was a natural partner as they’re pushing the boundaries of female-driven art and changing the narrative on how women are viewed,” Elson said. “Our bodies are sacred; our choices are our own and our power is infinite.”
“Supporting organizations that encourage, inspire and empower women is very close to my heart. Karen shared her love for Girlgaze and I was immediately on board,” Ray said. “Their commitment to closing the gender gap and advocating for female creatives made Girlgaze the most natural partner for this special collection of bags.”
Previously the brand collaborated with jewelry designer Pamela Love; tattoo artist Virginia Elwood, of Brooklyn’s Saved Tattoo, and English-American painter and actress Jemima Kirke to create limited-edition product for the series.
“It is pretty amazing how every Artisan Series has come to life in such an authentic, honest way,” Ray said. “Each series stands on their own while telling a beautiful story of the craft of leather and the women who create them.”
The Pamela Love collaboration sold out in less than 10 hours, so to make the Karen Elson series more accessible the brand will release it in two installments: the first release is today and the second is April 11. Both drops will be available at HoboBags.com.