Join us in Kingston, NY for Field +Supply!
We'll have a selection of leather goods from the collection, as well as new home accessories and one-off pieces, made exclusively for this lovely event.
Hope to see you!
Gratz Pouch, in Sand, featured in Majestigal's beautiful August editorial.
Read the blog post for more images, and enter the chance to win the Gratz Pouch in a give away!
Thank you, Mel! xx
Styling: Melissa Dewar
Photography: Wui Lee
Summer Sample Sale is On!
Show samples that got a little too much love, and styles/colours that won't be coming back next season are 50% off.
We'll be adding new styles every few days, until August 10th, so keep your eye on our sale page.
Located on an unspoiled block of west SoHo, In Residence is a space to discover and acquire the work of three New York based, woman-owned designer/fine artisans: OTEM, Bartleby Objects, and Totally Super Deluxe. Within the rooms of a private townhouse, the pop-up boutique encourages visitors to engage with our expressive objects in a friendly, conversational setting. Integrating fashion, home, jewelry, and original artworks, In Residence is an invitation to join us in our ongoing search for lasting beauty, goods of clear intention, and good company.
*RSVP for Opening Cocktails: firstname.lastname@example.org
L-R: OTEM, Bartleby Objects, Totally Super Deluxe
From June 29 - July 31,2107 use the code JETLAG2017 on your purchase of a full-price Practical Wallet
for 40% off, and we'll donate an additional 10% to the ACLU.
Customs cards, visas, entry permits, passports, connecting flight tickets, reference letter, institutional acceptance letters, national ID cards - I've needed a combination of all of these documents upon entry to the US, over my 17 years or residency. It once took so long to process my student visa that I had to fly from where I was living in Scotland, back to Malaysia, before finally receiving my visa to come to the states. a couple thousand dollars in airline tickets, lost working time, 40 hours in the air. I still get sweaty palms at immigration.
I made the Practical Wallet as a tool for those of us who can't afford to be out of it after a 24 hour flight, when missing documents can mean 6 hours in a holding room, only to be put back on a plane because the college that's accepted you put the wrong date on your letter.
Yes, I'll admit, this is political and it is personal.
Nobody needs to feel bad about it, no one person is to blame for the current state of affairs. Crossing a border, a body of water, a rock wall, has likely been risky for millennia. I think the Romans who encountered the Picts in Scotland can tell us something about that.
International borders are a conceptual problem that I cannot solve, but I can try blunt the edges.
And for this month, we'll all do our best.
In starting this new-ish business, I've been advised to identify "Our Customer"
My answer, or at least one of them, is not very good for business but I think it's true: Our customer feels a slight sense of alienation from the current moment. Our customer is accustomed with being out of step. Our customer doesn't want to represent the current moment, she wants to get through it with her soul unscathed and her back, straight.
I never much cared for contemporary music which I was in school. I was not cool.
I didn't get the appeal of Nirvana, or Oasis, or Missy Elliot. This was the music of my peers and I was not into it.
I liked Ani DiFranco. I likes Nina Simone. I like Queen.
I was not cool, but I was theatrical.
I listen to music from the 90s now and there's an energy that I didn't have as a younger person. I thought indie angst was boring and predictable; I was interested in containment. I didn't act out, I acted out on the inside. I didn't care about culture that reflected a teenage moment, I cared about culture that expanded the possibilities of what else was possible.
Working in the studio, about a year ago, I fell down the YouTube rabbit hole, listening to one of these albums that I didn't much care for when it was timely. Not cool, not not cool, just kind of overly mainstream amongst my peers - we were an opinionated lot. 20 years after it's debut, I heard it again and in that way that is not at all reflective of my current cultural moment, I was into it. I liked the straight-forwardness of it, the quaintness of the video, the lack of irony. The blessed absence of commentary.
I'd been struggling with a prototype for a while, and with one track on repeat, I banged it out in about 3 hours.
And for my slightly alienated customer, I call her Dolores.
The last in our series of leather suppliers, and our only international leather producer.
What can I say? You want leather, go to Italy.
Located in an area of Tuscany where leather has been produced since the 8th century BCE, Tempesti has been tanning leather since the mid-1940s. A baby, in Etruscan terms, but still that's a pretty good run.
One of the founding members of the Pelle al vegetale, a consortium of 23 tanneries based in Tuscany, the tannery and alliance promotes the use of veg-tanned leather as well as sustainable environmental practices, and technological advances. Traditional leather production is a way of life in this community, and we're not talking some cute, small operation - there is nothing old-timey about these manufacturers. They've figured out how to make a traditional product, scaled to meet modern demands and serious workplace safety standards. I hope to spend some time in their facility in the future, but in the meantime, there's a beautifully thorough and well-researched visit, documented by the UK-based Ajoto - I highly recommend reading through their factory tour if you want to learn more about the Tempesti process.
We rely heavily on the leathers Tempesti supplies for one big reason: colour. The Italians stock colours! We have our materials custom split to our specification, but the lovely array of colours we're able to use are just what they do. I'm sure there is an American tannery that stocks a lovely range of hues, but we haven't found one. Or better put, we haven't found one that is ready and willing to work with us. Tempesti is completely supportive of a small production model and their customer relationships are totally no-fuss. So they have the colour variety, the technical ability, a lovely product, and they're just easy to work with. What else could we want? Oh, they have this: the hides are a by-product of meat production cattle that is shipped from Sweden, where farming standards are extremely high and as a result, not only is the product a responsible use of the full animal, but the skins are from what were very healthy animals. Healthy animals, good skin.
We love working with this malleable, soft leather. The finish is very flat so when the item is new, it doesn't have much of a shine to it. Only with use, as the leather burnishes from contact and takes on oils from regular handing, does it start to develop a sheen, softening and darkening. This leather truly takes on the characteristics of the user in a way that we appreciate. The skins allow us to posit an idea - femininity, seasonality, formal experimentation - while resisting a thesis about the colour itself, because we know it will change and eventually it will resemble the user. The Tempesti leather allows us to fulfill a goal of a collection that is expressive, rather than merely demonstrative. And for this, we are very grateful.
As far as I know, Wickett & Craig is the last tannery producing veg tanned leathers on the East Coast. Located in central Pennsylvania, this tannery has been producing veg-tanned bovine leathers since 1867. Their longevity puts us to shame.
The Wickett & Craig leather is all about consistency and reliability - they produce a few lines in a few colourways and nothing extra; their dyes are rich all the way through; and customer service is no-fuss, no-muss. The fact that the tannery is fewer than 300 miles away from us is a bonus but what makes this business outstanding, in our opinion, is the high regard for their workforce. The majority of the 100+ employees are recruited locally, the company covers a responsible share of healthcare costs, and encourages staff to further their educations through programmes and tuition assistance. Their environmental standards are high, they buy the skins exclusively from North American cattle, and the product is recognized throughout the industry to be of the highest quality. We'd be stupid not to work with them.
We use Wickett & Craig's Bridle leathers, for their soft gloss, saturated dyes, and stiff hand. This materials is best served by styles requiring a robustness of shape (Siska, Brunella), good tension (belts) and moulded items (portfolios). The products, especially those that are wet- mounded to be coaxed into form, will be stiff from the outset, allowing them to naturally soften with use without losing shape. The colours and finishes are forgiving, and don't change much over time, making them a consistent, reliable material to work with.
Wickett & Craig works well for a small-batch business like ours, as they'll take smaller orders - we can order a hide at a time as long as it's a stocked product. They'll even split the hides for us and that's the key to our relationship. Most American tanneries stock their leathers in high thicknesses, about 4mm, which is just too heavy for most of our designs. If the tannery wasn't able to split their stocked hides into thinner material for us, we'd have to revise the design or find another source. So I'm grateful that one of America's last tanneries is so accommodating of our little endeavour and it's a pleasure to work with their goods, everyday.