7 REASONS TO BUY FROM ST LEONARDS
People outside of the fashion business often ask me, so what makes your bags better than anyone else's? And that's usually when I wince - so much about fashion, like art, is entirely subjective - one person's "Must-have" is another's Marmite Kryptonite and what might be "IN" one season is deemed "OVER" the next... it can be an exhausting superficial mine field. And it's not like my bag has a special button that reveals a Margarita bar with a flip down selection of olives...(now wait a minute while I write that down...)
My brand ethos is to offer understated product that's beautifully made and has a well thought out, less-is-more vibe. The accessories are meant to quietly do their job in making your outfit look terrific - without being overtly showy - it's a fine tightrope walk between offering timeless style that's desirable, not dull.
I know there's a huge amount of competition between fashion accessories brands so I thought I'd share with you some of the key features that I think make my business stand out from the crowd that will make you reach for the SHOP NOW button at St Leonards more often than any other company.
MADE IN ENGLAND
I proudly design and manufacture in England to support British businesses who are part of my supply chain, to earn a living in the town I love, and to keep leather crafting techniques alive in East Sussex.
SUSTAINABLE MANUFACTURE & MATERIALS
I think it's more sustainable to develop samples and manufacture here, rather than getting things made up overseas - the couriers, and air and sea miles involved are ridiculous, and don't get me started on the lead times which have to be so much longer.
Also, as a bag heads towards the end of its life, a leather bag, can often be repaired, passed down to family members, gifted to charity or failing that, it will completely break down and degrade in the ground after about 25 years. The metal fittings can be melted down and recycled.
I use only A-grade luxury Italian leathers for my leather bags. These are leathers that are a by-product of the meat industry. The hides are selected for the best hand-feel, grain and the fewest flaws, which means these animals have been cared for better than most.Having good quality feed and pasture insures a good-looking skin. Having previously worked as a designer for High Street brands who manufactured PU accessories, I know that those carcinogenic fumes are NO GOOD for the humans that work with it, and many end up with lung and skin diseases... and that Polyurethane / PU material or "Faux leather" everyone's keen to call "Vegan" right now, NEVER degrades in landfill - not even after 100's of years...
BRITISH MADE HARDWARE
I think the hardware fittings really set the tone of a bag brand - poor quality fittings really devalue the rest of the product no matter how expensive the brand and I like to use solid brass for weight and durability and these too are manufactured in the UK -near Knutsford, England.
Each bag is made up several pieces and each one is cut out by hand with a knife, not stamped out by a machine so there is a real difference between mass production and handcrafting.
THE ROLLS ROYCE OF ZIPPERS
Nothing is more infuriating than owning a bag you love but the zipper bursts or breaks - you need to know you can rely 100% on the teeth to hold your possessions in place. I wanted to use a British made zipper but currently there's only one manufacturer left and they only produce plastic ones which don't suit my current design direction. So, I've picked the Rolls Royce of zips - Swiss made and guaranteed for life. This company is so trusted for their amazing engineering that they provide zippers for fighter pilot suits which need to be able to keep their bodies compressed to protect them against the G forces that are exerted on their organs.
THOUGHTFUL DESIGN, SLOWER FASHION
I believe good design takes time. Creating a new style can sometimes come about like a flash of lightning, but it's the prototyping and wear-testing that can take time; to ensure the bag works practically too. There's nothing more annoying than a beautiful looking bag which keeps slipping off your shoulder or doesn't stay done up if it's supposed to. St Leonards might bring out less designs per year, but as the designs are built to last and aren't so faddish, you should feel you're getting product that will be as beautiful to use 5 years later than when you bought it.
Enjoy choosing your first St Leonards product.