The five-piece collection available exclusively at Montblanc boutiques and online, the Public School website and Mr Porter is comprised of a duffel bag, envelope and envelope mini, belt bag and business card holder made from regenerative fabric and environmentally conscious materials.
The duffel, envelopes and belt bag are all made with black regenerated nylon enhanced with acid lime edges; 100 percent recyclable stainless steel details, and straps made with recycled polyester that is almost identical to virgin polyester but requires 59 percent less energy and 32 percent less CO2 emissions. The card holder is crafted from leftover grain and acid green leather that underwent a CO2 tanning process, and bears the phrase ‘the pen(cil) is mightier than the sword,’ a phrase from English author Edward Bulwer-Lytton for his play “Richelieu” reinterpreted by Public School.
“We are in a world where we’re thinking more about being lower impact,” said Montblanc chief executive officer Nicolas Baretzki. “It’s first about innovation and it goes back to what Montblanc is about.”
An appreciation and desire for travel inspired Public School cofounders Dao-Yi Chow and Maxwell Osborne to collaborate. “We jumped at the opportunity to create something for a global-minded audience,” the duo said. “Montblanc has been working with a new fabric called econyl made from recycled materials. We had been working on that space as well and fell in love with the fabric. We knew right away it would be great to work on a range of bags and travel-inspired items.”
Baretzki, Chow and Osborne began working on this project in 2020, but it was delayed due to COVID-19. Both brands have many collaborations in the past. Public School has partnered with Jordan Brand, Eileen Fisher, New Balance, and this year with Freedom March NYC, a Black woman-led protest group and civil rights organization. Montblanc worked with Bape in 2019 and with Academy Award-winning filmmaker and Montblanc ambassador Spike Lee in 2020, among others.
Though the collaborators could not confirm that the partnership will be ongoing, Baretzki said Montblanc will continue to produce items in a similar ethos as this project is part of the company’s commitment to sustainability.
“It really comes at a time when Montblanc is entering in a strong and strategic way into leather,” he said. “We hired a new creative director [Marco Tomasetta] and soon we will be bringing to the market new collections and hero product into the leather goods category.”
Baretzki said the North American region is very important to the company and performs well in e-commerce. “We’re very cautious, but things are looking brighter,” he said. “We see our customers willing to interact with the maison and our products and that’s very good news for the near future.”
This month, the company will unveil a full redesign of its website. It is also opening Montblanc Haus in Hamburg in the next few months dedicated to writing culture.
For Chow and Osborne, while Public School is no longer their primary focus — Chow is creative director of Sergio Tacchini and Osborne launched a new brand named AnOnlyChild — but it still informs everything they do.
“Over the last 14 years, PSNY has evolved into a part of our lives regardless of what other projects we’re working on currently,” they said. “We set out to create a philosophy and design approach to everything we do. It’s akin to a band who goes on and writes and produces music for other people, it will always have a PSNY sound to it. We mostly have collaborations slated for the next 18 to 24 months.”