Imby Langenbach, KARMME
Creating has always been a part of Imby Langenbach’s life. It’s what she does when life gets too busy, when she needs to clear her mind. Through a need and desire to create KARMME was born; a leather bag brand that at its core is all about quiet, peace, serenity, composure, and the absence of agitation.
When Imby Langenbach made a clutch as a gift to her sister, little did she know it would turn into a full-time business. The clutch soon gained traction on social media and led her to create the brand, KARMME.
Pronounced as “calm”, the Sydney-based brand creates elegant leather clutches, totes, travel bags and other bags and accessories using premium Italian leather. The simple yet practical design of KARMME bags was influenced when she needed to swap her shoulder bag for a handy clutch to keep her essentials, while recovering form neck surgery.
Apart from the simplicity and versatility of design, another hallmark of the KARMME clutches or as she likes to call them “the ladies” is its bespoke nature. The products are made locally in Sydney and consist of six collections including the Classic range with colours made exclusively for KARMME, and the signature Shibori range (a traditional Japanese dyeing technique).
We take a peek inside Imby’s life as she shares some interesting tidbits about herself, KARMME and her hometown Sydney.
What’s your first fashion memory?
Making my year 7 dance outfit, a mint green pencil skirt and a matching blouse, white with mint green butterflies on it!
Waking up each day looking forward to spending the day doing what you love doing.
I can’t start my day until…
I’ve sat quietly with a coffee, scrolled through my emails and social media and chosen a playlist to listen to whilst I work.
Where do you look for inspiration?
I don’t tend to look for it but I find myself observing a lot whilst travelling, colours, textures, and thinking about how an object that’s practical and needed can be made beautiful.
How would you describe your design process?
I usually start with a need then I work out how I can best design a shape that works practically but also beautifully to fulfil that need. When I work with Shibori Textiles on collaborations with leather design, we think about colour and a story usually evolves once we work on pattern around that colour way.
What is your design philosophy?
Simple, elegant, not following trends, meaningful, well thought through, easy going and versatile.
"I have become better at drawing a line and not working when it’s family time but a creative business also needs to be fluid, sometimes I just have to make a design I have in my head."
What does work life balance mean to you?
I think when you love what you do there is a cross over of work and life. I don’t wait for Friday to come so I can finish ‘work’ I see it as part of my week in amongst raising three daughters. I have become better at drawing a line and not working when it’s family time but a creative business also needs to be fluid, sometimes I just have to make a design I have in my head and luckily my husband and kids know and understand that about me!
What advice do you wish you had received 5 years ago?
Be less concerned with what others think and go for it.
If you were not a designer, what would you be doing?
I would loved to have studied graphic art or been a pastry chef.
Who is your style icon?
Cate Blanchett, love everything about her
Which designer/s do you admire and why?
I love the designer behind Aesop. I think it’s such a clever concept with the stores, clean branding and beautiful products.
How would you describe your personal style?
Understated, simple, classic
How would you describe the style/vibe of Sydney?
Sydney has the best of both worlds. It is a big city with all that has to offer but also a collection of communities that bring with them their own unique vibe. I live on the beaches and it feels like I’m on summer holidays all the time. I love going into Surry Hills and the inner West for a completely different feel. You can mix it up very easily in Sydney.
What is your favourite thing about Sydney?
The variety of food, people, places and landscapes. You can be at the beaches in the morning then the mountains by the afternoon.