"Roberu" is dedicated to the art of handmade.
Roberu is a leather workshop that carefully selects organically tanned and dyed leather materials, arranges them in designs that highlight their distinctive features, and creates products that naturally blend into the lifestyle of their owners. The brand name is a derivative of the words "ROad, BEach, RUnner", which express the lifestyle and outlook of Roberu's owner Shinji Iwamoto.
The career of Shinji Iwamoto, owner of Roberu, began with his first encounter with leather.
“It was a piece of tanned and dyed leather, and when I spread it out, I saw that it was badly damaged. Yet, to me it looked very beautiful. I felt the primal energy of the cattle it once was, and ideas just started flowing. I wanted to make a wallet out of this part, and a bag of that part.”
Ever since this first encounter, Iwamoto does not use pigments in a manner that covers and hides the surface, instead he selects leather materials that are tanned and dyed organically and retain the natural feel of the leather.
Iwamoto procures his leather materials from a trusted tanner in Himeji. Aware of the harsh condition that surround the leather industry, including the global deficit of raw leather and the lack of young people in Japan willing to learn the craft of tanning, Iwamoto takes the responsibility to make bulk orders when he discovers leather materials he intends to use.
“The ability to masterfully express hues through pigments is in the core of any trust-based relationship. I create my works taking into account the ideas of my counterpart.”
As for the manufacturing process, all operations that can be conducted at the atelier are performed by Roberu staff, while operations for which they do not possess equipment are outsourced to factories. This approach is based on the fundamental concept to visibly express the existence of the person who forms the background of each product. This straightforward attitude toward materials and the handmade art has solidified the Roberu brand's reputation.
Roberu has been creating iPhone cases since the time the iconic smartphone was first launched on the market. Its presentation excited Iwamoto and inspired him to create something resonant. Through a process of trial and error, Iwamoto combined leather with rubber to create a case that felt like a piece of clothing that covers the iPhone.
“I was really impressed and excited by the iPhone, so I don’t think I will make cases for other smartphones. The Roberu brand does not simply represent leather products, but also a special attitude, a personal touch. I took the photos myself, and created the website from scratch - all of this is Roberu.”
The iPhone case is an item of exquisite quality that can be worn with a casual feel. Light and small as it is, the case is an embodiment of the Roberu spirit.