Beauty and utility
Strong ties to fashion
It's interesting to think how an object as functional as parachute cord can become an essential part of your outfit. Paracord is a material generally known for its usefulness, and, until now, not much else: it's so durable that it's even been used to carry out repairs on the Hubble telescope.
Thanks to the efforts of a company called Naimakka, this is starting to change. The Stockholm-based fashion firm took hold of the material and, with a few deft knots and twists, developed it into a woven bracelet that's as useful as it is stylish. It looks great as part of your outfit: and if you find yourself in a bind and in need of some highly versatile and ultra-strong material, you have a ready-woven supply of it right there on your wrist.
Now, Volvo Cars are launching a collaboration with Naimakka on an exclusive range of bracelets. They're stylish and functional, with a distinct Volvo twist - using the company's safety vision as a starting point, and building in an extra element of premium quality. The bracelets are elegant, unisex, with a real silver clasp. What's more, the high-grade military paracord used to build them is woven through with brightly reflective thread.
“Watches are getting smaller, not bigger. We wanted to create something lighter and more elegant”
Volvo Cars Designer
Safety is cool
"Any bit of reflective material that we can get the public to wear is a win. Safety is cool. Using it as a design element isn't only attractive and unique, but it helps people," says Patrik Shields, the founder of Naimakka. When the idea of a collaboration took shape, he was attracted to Volvo's lengthy heritage and core values of quality, safety and environmental care.
"We took a step back: seeing how we could do something that reflected the fundamental values of our brand but also brought in what Volvo stands for. Whenever people think of Volvo, they think of something safe. The reflective material fits with the zero-fatalities vision. Then we chose the colours and made a one-piece silver clasp to fit in with the collection."
"If we’re going to make jewellery, there needs to be a reason"
Petter Hillinge, Product Designer at Volvo Cars
Petter Hillinge, the Product Designer at Volvo Cars who worked on the collaboration with Patrik, agrees that it was important to combine form and function. "If we’re going to make jewellery, there needs to be a reason. That's why it was so important for us to build in the reflective material. We also wanted to make something unisex, suitable for everyone to wear.
"We took Naimakka's design principle, then worked in these ideas to come up with the right thickness for the bracelet, and the colours. And we designed the whole clasp in line with other items that we've put out - like our cufflinks. As a result, the bracelet's function creates its own aesthetic."
The finished product reflects the values and style of Naimakka and Volvo Cars perfectly. "I'm proud of it," says Patrik. "When somebody is wearing something, it's a reflection of what they want to be. The car you drive, what you wear: it's an extension of who you are."
Naimakka's items are distinctly high-quality: but they also keep it real, lively and fun. As well as the wristbands themselves, their site contains a blog with interviews and advice - as well as a story about how one of the wristbands saved the day on a mountainside on Lombok.
You can even buy a box of the high-grade paracord they use to make their accessories. And Naimakka encourage their customers to pack it for their adventures, take photos of it in use, and send their stories in for the blog.
Form and function
The wristband is still under development, but should be available to order from mid-September. With it, Naimakka and Volvo Cars have created something cool and stylish that also manages to serve a real purpose. It won’t only come in useful when you’re stuck up a mountain minus your bootlaces. It’s functional wear for any occasion.