Designers Angela Wang and Daniel Li reveal their S/S 2019 collection with friends, pizza, and club music.

New York is a never-stop-keep-pushing-don’t-look-back kind of place. When living (or, let’s be honest, mostly working) in this jumble of looming structures and expectations, it’s hard to take a step back to appreciate the moment and the people supporting us. It’s hard to find a balance.

10 years ago, Daniel Li left behind his home in the Tibetan steppes, taking his first steps into the hectic and uncertain design industry in New York City. Angela Wang came from Wuhan, a commercial center divided by the Yangtze and Han rivers in China. Crossing paths while working in design and production for an accessories company, they felt creatively stifled working for someone else. Fast forward to March 2018, when Daniel and Angela started the accessories brand Ratio et Motus. Meaning “Reason and Emotion” in Latin, they strive for a balance between these polarities, mixing in elements of fast and slow living.

With thoughtful Italian craftsmanship and a personal motivation to adapt and develop new styles, their bags have soared to a level of success uncommon for such a young brand, and within a year of launching they are selling their pieces through retail behemoth Net-A-Porter.

Despite the fast growth of their brand, Angela and Daniel have maintained their core belief that experiencing life is part of creating the best work. Embodying the mission of the brand, the two designers organized a friends and family gathering on a rainy Sunday afternoon in December. Equipped with champagne, cookies, club music, and a camera, their aim was to celebrate the friendship that embodies the brand by filming a celebration at the studio.

The product of that afternoon’s shoot was more of a home video than a lookbook. Photographer James Emmerman captured each individual with a Ratio et Motus bag that matched his/her personality as each person brought something different to the table. Two Craigslist roommates, two pairs of twins, a sustainable urban planner, a journalist for the WSJ, and a born-and-raised Queens girl are among the faces that make up this film and zine.

Together, Daniel and Angela have used this project as an opportunity to capture a moment in their lives that is special and fleeting—it is an homage to the collaborators and supporters who lifted them throughout the chaotic process of starting an independent brand.

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