A brown leather wrap kit for your bike’s crossbar. An apron that lets every other bartender in the business to take your tips. A weekender bag made from upcycled army tents, weathered by the desert. With a stamp, Made in Tel Aviv. Meet Archie and Denis, brothers in life and in business. They are the Tel Aviv brand Havie.
I stumbled across them on one of my early evening walks around the Tel Aviv neighborhood of Jaffa, around the hipster neighborhood of Noga Theatre in Jaffa. At street level I spotted a couple of young and attractive men working away on sewing machines, with surfboards and vintage items stacked in the backdrop. Of course, I had to go in! and there I met the brothers, from the Ukraine, who are giving all their skills to raise a new boutique brand of hand-made called Havie, which to them means “to have”. I just adore handmade goods, especially when they use upcycled materials. But not as a reason to use the materials, but in finding a method to give the old a dignified and even better than previous existence.
“We are building our brand on a foundation that celebrates quality, craftsmanship, and tradition at every stage from raw material to finished product. Our goals are simple; to envision, design, and create in-house and by hand, beautiful pieces,” is their statement.
With backgrounds in finance, then design and inspired by the military and being authentic, the brand was created in the mornings and evenings during day jobs and now all their products are sewn, cut and stitched by hand in their Tel Aviv studio. Some on their sewing machine they call Monika.
“We love how our brand is growing and evolving. To us, our goods express everything we value. We are well aware that the way we work is not the most efficient, and certainly not very cost effective, but we are sure that we have sacrificed nothing of our vision.”
Sourcing raw materials is one of the challenges and joy. The brothers look for old army gear, uniforms, tents and duffel bags –- all which then get upcycled into new products you can love.
Maybe you’ll find someone’s initials handwritten on an old army tent or you’ll decipher a hidden message scribbled down on some canvas 50 years ago. Maybe it’s in Hebrew, Arabic or English – left by British soldiers back in the day? All of the Holy Land is a code waiting to be deciphered. Havie makes us think of the lives and the adventures that these objects in their first incarnation went through.
“We’re not saving lives here, we’re just making bags, but sometimes when a new style is created we have a moment when we feel like we’re saving our own. We want to applaud everyone else who’s working to do the same, because quite simply – it’s hard!”