“When we founded QWSTION, we wanted to create all-rounders that are sustainable, aesthetically pleasing and at the same time functional,” says co-founder Hannes Schoenegger. “Bags that you can wear for both cycling and in the office, for business meetings, in cafés and on weekend walks in the woods,” he adds. Hannes looks after the Austrian location as much of the operational business is now done in Tyrol while the studio headquarters remain in Zurich.
Back in 2008, when the idea of personal bag label was just starting to take shape in the minds of friends Sebastian Kruit, Christian Kaegi, Fabrice Aeberhard, Matthias Graf, and Hannes Schoenegger. At that time, backpacks and tote bags were all either functional or visually appealing—not both. And so it’s hardly surprising that QWSTION was born almost out of necessity with the five-member founding team creating a product they wanted yet simply couldn’t find.
Between each of the founders they already had important know-how thanks to their various creative professions: Hannes, who knew his way around communication and figures, Sebastian, who was fit in fashion sales and retail, and industrial designers Christian and Fabrice and graphic designer Matthias. A first prototype, rectangular in shape, fancier than a sports backpack, but sportier than a classic leather bag, was soon produced and distributed to friends and acquaintances. “The response was great, which furthered our idea of tarting a business,” says Hannes. “Our first backpack is still in the collection—of course, we have continually developed and improved upon the original design.”
For QWSTION, however, change does not mean running after fast-paced trends. Although the collections are developed consistently, all their models are designed to work primarily long term thanks to the durability of the materials and the timeless design. “We’re not a classic fashion brand, but rather we see ourselves as a manufacturer of quality everyday products,” Hannes says. The products come in mostly muted colors and the design also has a clear, reduced form. “It’s striking that even the Swiss think that we come from the Scandinavian region,” Hannes says laughing.