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Small Designs Magazine

Small Designs Magazine

Friday, March 28, 2014

Darabil – old school techniques for new fashion accessories

Darabil is all about milinary, fascinators and beautiful hats for women. The mission of Darabil is to maintain alive the old techniques these item were made of, using them to create contemporary objects.  The person behind this interesting craft is Amaia, a basque creator based in Barcelona. Amaia not only creates milinary items, but also, tries to expand the knowledge she learned in the form of workshops.

Her first experience was in her home-town, in Basque Country, where she start attending a tailor's studio to learn pattern making. Amaia also has a degree in Fine Art and spend a year in Norway, where she discovered a new material, felt.

„Wet felting, dry felting, nuno felting…you can use it anyway you like; it’s moldable, lightweight, beautiful and really warm material. Few years ago, I moved to Barcelona and meet three fabulous women from whom I’ve learned a lot; Nina, a great millinery artist, Pilar, best textile artists ever and Anna really sensitive jeweler” – Amaia says.
„I’ve always been curious about how things are built. This curiosity of mine has brought me to visit different countries and meet great people on the journey. In the Basque Country, where I’m from, I’ve learned to appraise craftsman and manual processes. In Norway I discovered the felt, then I moved to China where I found out a new aesthetics concept and I finally arrived to Barcelona where I’ve learned everything I know about millinery and metal work” - Amaia.

How did you come up with your brand name?

The name Darabil comes from the Basque verb "to use".
When something stops using, it disappears, it dies and my project is an attempt to keep alive certain techniques that currently are not as popular as they were in the past. The mission of Darabil is to maintain alive these techniques; using them to create contemporary objects on one hand and expanding the knowledge in the form of workshops on the other hand.

What does it take to make one item?

My main area is the millinery; felt hats, fascinators, tiaras, combs, straw hats... I make all my creations by hand, one by one, taking care of every step.
With the fascinators, I start sculpting the mold to build the skeleton of the fascinator. When it dries, I cut the excess and sew the wire all around it. Then I line it, decorate it and finally I sew the sujeccion and the brand (that previously I silk printed on fabric). It’s a process that takes about three days and I enjoy every step of it.

Which one is your best seller?
This winter the pompom combs came strong and It’s only a guess but I think that the new turbans that I’m preparing for this summer will be a hit!

How do people get in touch with you?

My workshop is based in Barcelona, it’s called OSLO Barcelona. That’s the place where I create, where I teach and where you can buy my jewels and fascinators among other beautiful things, all handmade in Barcelona.
If you live far away I’m also available by e-mail and in my online shop of Etsy

I’m active in different social networks such as Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest with the name Darabil and I also have a Blog where I share some tips, pictures of the working process and my latest creations (

I love to receive the feedback from people and I'm always up to participate in new projects with editorials, fashion designers or artists of other disciplines so if you have something in mind or just want to say hi I'll be happy to know from you.

Do you run your business full-time?

Yes. I’m a full-time crafter. Beside Darabil I’m also a community manager of the association OSLO Barcelona ( and I’m one of the 4 women who runs this association. OSLO Barcelona is a space where we show and sell our art directly, without intermediaries, supporting the artist against the big brands and thereby acquiring quality products at affordable and fair prices.

I see a lot of people starting their business online. What do you think makes you stand out from the crowd?

I offer quality and unique products made with love, with the techniques that were used in the past. I like to share the working process of my creations because it is one of the notable aspects of my work; and also, when you see how an object has been made, the history behind it, you appreciate it more.
One of my goals are the custom orders for weddings or special occasions. Designing a project hand by hand with the customer’s needs and tastes it’s a great experience, especially because somehow you are letting the customer be part of the process.

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