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Doe x Bamford

LEATHER HOME ACCESSORIES COLLECTION

Our latest Home Accessories collection was conceived in collaboration with Suffolk-based leathermaker, Doe. The parchment leather is a signature hide to Doe, of supreme quality which is dyed naturally with vegetable dyes and finished with hand-burnished edges.

The new triad of multipurpose leather items is the first collection Doe has created for the Home; the box and tray would sit well in a study or dressing room, and the pot also acts as a snug cover to our Bamford Candles (330g size only).

The departure from bags and accessories offered a shared learning experience for Doe founder Deborah, as well as the Bamford team in collaborating to create a cohesive collection of objects to be used in the home.

Bridle Hide comes from the ‘butt’ or the middle of the back of cattle, the strongest and smoothest area. Traditionally used for equestrian purposes, very few modern leather accessories are now made from it due to its expense. The process takes months as vegetable tanning and triple hand-waxing are laborious and time consuming; vegetable tanning eliminates the common toxic chemicals used in the majority of tanneries worldwide.

The hide used by Doe is British finished in Walsall, the saddlery region of the UK. Much of what makes a Doe product is the hand-finishing; the wait pays off as, with the right care, objects made from bridle hide will last a lifetime and beyond, developing its own unique ‘patina’ with wear and ageing.

‘We are committed to retaining our British heritage and can guarantee that ‘Made in England’ means just that.’

A family legacy in leathercraft

Doe draws on Deborah’s family heritage of leathercraft established by her great, great grandfather and his tannery, W Pearce and Co founded in 1908. The legacy is evidenced in her Suffolk design studio, with relics saved from the now defunct Art Deco tannery decorating the space: an iron plate rescued from the factory sits proudly on the making table, with a black and white picture of the grand building clipped to it; and traditional leather work tools that the skilled workers of her great, great grandfather's tannery once used are still employed now, as the processes of age-old leather work haven’t changed much over the years.

Doe was established in 2003. ‘When our family tannery sadly closed (cheap imports were flooding the market) my father and I discovered boxes of sales sample books dating back decades in the abandoned corridors. I couldn’t bear the idea of these beautiful leathers ending up in landfill and after many years working in accessories, decided the time was right to launch my own collection using these historic prints.’

From the ethically tanned parchment leather to the hand-burnished edges, every step of the creation process is considered. The linen hand-stitch that unites the three items in the collection has been a continuous thread since the collection was first thought. It takes a few hours to cross-stitch just one side of the Doe Leather Pot - the linen thread is sourced from France and coated with beeswax before stitching to reinforce the bind.

WHERE DOES YOUR PASSION AND STRONG COMMITMENT TO THE ENVIRONMENT STEM FROM?

Interestingly my forefathers were ahead of their time. The tannery was self-sufficient in energy, producing their own power and heat. In the offices very little was updated or discarded. I remember summer jobs serving tea on ancient china and a wobbly gilt trolley which had definitely seen better days. This all made for a beautifully preserved and sustainable building. I like to think Doe’s ethos to only collaborate with fair practise and pay suppliers, producers and partners stems back to my great, great grandfather’s ethos of treating his workers well. The tannery Coat of Arms has the words ‘Industry, Inspiration, Cooperation’ underneath.

DO YOU SEE THE EVENTS OF THIS YEAR HAVING A LASTING IMPACT ON OUR PURCHASING BEHAVIORS AND ATTITUDES?

‘Buying better but less’ should be the message with a curiosity of where and how a product is made. None of us live perfect lives but demanding transparency from companies selling to us - whether that’s clothing, accessories, cosmetics or food - would put pressure on supply chains to be more sustainable and ethical.

I’m always amazed at how many people are, quite rightly, concerned about the provenance of their meat but have no idea where the leather for their handbag comes from. A lot of cow hide comes from Brazil where the ranching is hugely destructive and over 90 per cent of leather is finished in so-called “toxic tanneries” in Dhaka, Bangladesh with terrible workers’ conditions and pollution.

WHAT DO YOU HOPE TO SEE EMERGE AS A RESULT OF THIS PANDEMIC?

We’re all starting to understand just how far reaching the effects of disrespecting the natural world are. Whether that’s felling the rainforest (for beef, soy, palm oil), factory farming or bringing wildlife into markets, our behaviour is going to cause further and maybe even worse crises to emerge. We all need to consume and live more consciously to avoid this, here’s hoping we will!

Learn more about Doe at doeleather.co.uk