YKRA backpacks and accessories are handcrafted with care in Hungary, from the finest quality materials, inspired by the vintage mountaineering gear of the 70’s.
Our passion for the mountaineering gear of the 70’s was the motivation to create colorful, vintage style backpacks, that don’t just look good but are also functional for everyday use.
YKRA (pronounced eek-rah) started out from the basement of a bar in downtown Budapest. In 2011 with the help of some friends, we set up our workshop at Telep, a fresh cool surfer bar in the city center, got an industrial sewing machine, put on some reggae songs and got to work. We’ve been at it ever since!
Our friends helped us wherever they could: from sewing, to designing graphics, to photoshoots and organising parties, we wouldn’t be here without them! We spent great times at the workshop with the Telep community, and while the beats of the parties above us filtered down to the basement, the spirit of YKRA was shaped and formed into what it is today.
YKRA was always meant to be different. From the very start we set out to create something that was unique and original. We make long-lasting quality products that have the look and feel of a bygone era. Our growth and success has always come from our wonderful customers, who share our nostalgie for the colors and high quality materials of our childhood, and appreciate the traditional way of making things.
We’ve come a long way over the years. We have become a successful family owned brand with a loyal following. We’ve collaborated with incredible talents like Henrik Vibskov, we have more than 60 outstanding retail partners around the world, and we have expanded our product line to provide more options for YKRA fans. Our goal is to make long-lasting products that have the look and feel of a bygone era and make their owners happy for a long time to come.
HOW IT’S MADE
We are proud that our manufacturing is done locally. All YKRA products are handcrafted in Hungary, in the European Union.
From the very beginning, we chose to support local businesses and workers, instead of outsourcing production to Asia. We are proud that YKRA creates meaningful and well paying jobs here in Hungary, and through our partners, in Central Europe.
We source the high quality leather from Italy. Instead of using plastic, we use thick cotton canvas from the Czech Republic. Our metal accessories and webbing is made here in Hungary. These are all natural materials that will one day break down, and disappear without a trace.
We handcraft our products with traditional manufacturing methods. Each item is made with care, and checked for defects. The combination of high quality materials and attention to detail leads to long lasting products, that age beautifully and acquire patina. We encourage you to use them for as long as possible, and repair them when needed, instead of buying a new one.
We are a responsible company: we will always repair any product that has defects in materials or workmanship, regardless of the age of the product. We always aim to have repairs done locally, to minimise our impact on the environment!
BEHIND THE BRAND
YKRA is the brainchild of designer Balázs Lakatos, who was inspired to make a cool backpack for himself. After meeting his wife, Judit Balogh, who is coincidentally a design manager, they co-founded the brand.
Born in the early 80’s, Balázs spent his childhood years in Yugoslavia, and was influenced by the colorful polyester fashion that was characteristic of the communist eastern bloc. Growing up in New York, and Paris, where he studied business and history, he was inspired to start a fashion brand one day.
After leaving a failed business partnership making designer shoes, he came up with the idea for YKRA, and used the industrial sewing machine that he received as consolation to start designing.
In the beginning they worked in the basement of Telep, the surf bar, where Balázs first designed the backpacks, and then sew and assembled them individually. As the orders flooded in, and YKRA backpacks became hip around town, production could not keep up with the demand. After the first 50 backpacks, they realised that it was time to grow and work with professionals, to improve quality, and meet the demand.
Today the YKRA team has grown to 6 people, and we work from a nice little office in Buda. Our production still takes place here in Hungary, and though our manufacturing and sourcing, help to provide jobs to hundreds of people locally and in the Central European region.