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Design Thinking: Déhanche

(Image courtesy of Déhanche)

In Graduate School, one of the buzzwords professors love to discuss is "Design Thinking." Design Thinking is an iterative process in which we seek to understand the user, challenge assumptions, and redefine problems to identify alternative strategies and solutions that might not be instantly apparent with our initial level of understanding (Dam and Siang). Design Thinking enables a company to understand consumer needs to serve their audience better. For this project, I contacted different companies to learn how the organizations apply Design Thinking to their market offerings. I had the chance to learn more about Déhanche.

(Image courtesy of Déhanche)

1. What makes Déhanche different from other brands on the market?

Déhanche is designed for people with a sensibility to modernist design and luxury craftsmanship without all the big logos. For someone who wants to make a statement but who searches for an “object” that imparts character. I found it impossible to find beautiful belts that didn't look like everything else on the market. Déhanche takes an accessory that is so often forgotten and puts it at the center of a woman’s wardrobe.

(Image courtesy of Déhanche)

2. How does Déhanche stay ahead of upcoming trends?

I don’t consider myself a trendy person – I instinctively gravitate toward certain looks and silhouettes that become trendy a year or so after. In fact, when I’m designing, I ask myself if the belt is something I could see in somebody else’s collection. If it is, I will stop the production.

(Image courtesy of Déhanche)

3. Where does Déhanche draw inspiration from during the design process?

Art is so important to my designs and my brand. Constantin Brancusi and Jean Arp are very big references throughout my designs – they both created these reductive gold sculptures – and I had this desire to turn that concept into one you could carry with you to wear. I wanted to create accents that were less of a buckle but more of a sculpture.

(Image courtesy of Déhanche)

4. How does Déhanche incorporate its mission and vision into its product offerings?

Fashion is an irresistible source of pleasure and an expression of identity, but it remains the second largest pollutant in the world. Each belt in the collection is handcrafted in Italy, and due to the rarity of specialty leather used in the designs, pieces are available only in limited quantities. The leathers are up-cycled or vegetable dyed. I have partnered with the Swedish company Doconomy and the 2030 Calculator to calculate the carbon footprint of our belts based on the emissions created from manufacturing and transport up until the point of sale. The Calculator uses unique emissions factors for each belt part, material, packaging, and transport and includes the lifetime methane emissions of the animal to determine the carbon footprint.

(Image courtesy of Déhanche)

5. What is the future of the company?

I am laser focused solely on making a beautiful mono-product label. Because many celebrities and influencers become fans of the brand early on, I have partnered with some exciting stockists who will take Déhanche internationally.

In terms of product and design, it’s important to me to give belts the importance they deserve and not to dilute that with other product categories. It’s like jewelry. There is so much ornamentation that can be explored in this one way.

(Image courtesy of Déhanche)


Me on my first day of graduate school

Rachel Huss

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