Hopefully you’ll be getting a little familiar with vintage and accessories brand Leotie Lovely…
Since first discovering the label and emailing back and forth loads with the lovely founder Holly Rose, I’ve featured the ethical clutches and Holly’s amazing Halo poster print collaboration. Having fallen pretty hard for the Leotie Lovely clutch, last week I ordered two – the Neon Aztec Clutch and Diggity Dang Desert Vine Clutch. Ok, one is a present, but I’m going to be hard pushed deciding which one to part with. In our emails, Holly had mentioned what a labour of love sourcing the materials and putting together each clutch had been and I thought it’d be fun to get the full story behind each of these. I love how nothing is really right without a fringe for Holly, her commitment to using deadstock materials and non-waste approach.
I hope you enjoy this little insight into the story behind these clutches – I should mention I was bowled over by how incredibly beautiful they are to see and hold. You can see the whole Leotie Lovely ethical clutch collection here, prices range from £35-£65. So, in Holly’s own words…
“I found the fabric for this piece on one of the sunniest Winnipeg days a few years ago in a deadstock (Ed’s note – stock that never made it to a sales floor!) fabric street sale I stumbled across by accident. The fabric reminded me of my friend Kristina, the artist from this month’s Collaboration for a Cause Halo print, who loves her neon Aztecs, and I was originally going to use the fabric to add pockets onto American Apparel tank tops, but then Urban Outfitters started doing exactly that, so I decided it best not to compete and held onto it instead. As the clutches began to form from other findings, it too became a clutch. This piece, which is one of two, took a few goes to develop properly. I originally made it without the fringe, but it wasn’t quite right (nothing really is without fringe!).
The suede used for the fringing was found while scraps diving in East London – an interior designer came into the leather shop and dropped off a number of offcuts from a couch he had reupholstered, I hung around until he left to have the first go at his undesirables and got this amazing soft pressed suede, cut in a really awkward shape.
I love buying deadstock leathers and suedes for my pieces – my mother was an activist for aboriginal peoples of Canada when I was younger and as a child in that community I learnt a lot about the crafts and ethos of aboriginal peoples. One thing that has always stuck with me is the respect they have for animals. Traditionally, when an animal is hunted, every part of it was consumed or used to make clothing, weapons, tools, jewellery or shelter, nothing was wasted and they (and I speak very generally about the Sioux and Cree whom I am most familiar with) would give thanks to the animal with prayer. A really beautiful respectful process, lost for the most part in modern meat production. However, in the UK, all leather is manufactured as a bio product for meat production and in Bali, the bones of the animal are collected and carved into objects like the steer heads you see in this collection. Using UK deadstock leather and suede helps ensure all of the animal is used. I donate the scraps from my deadstock UK based jewellery designer EA BURNS to further ensure nothing is wasted. Not at all the equal to the aboriginal peoples’ process, but a slight step in the right direction!
The beads from this bag are from two different places – the glass beads are fairtrade beads purchased from an artisan on Etsy and the ‘tooth’ beads are repurposed from a rather alarming necklace found in a charity shop, you’ll see the same beads on the Elephant Clutch.”
“So this clutch is one of the pieces I went ‘oh dang’ – hence the name – while producing it. I developed it after I had developed the woven clutches and I had used the majority of the printed fabric as the lining of the Fringe Fest Clutch, and only realised after as I admired the interior that it would make a lovely exterior.
I found the fabric with the same intention as the Neon Aztec Clutch, to make fabric pockets on plain tops. It too was from Winnipeg but sourced from a charity shop where it had once lived its life as a strangely sized curtain.
The zipper is a YKK eco-friendly zipper which is made from recycled PET bottles, old fiber and other polyester remnants.
The lining is deadstock fabric from a charity shop in Camden and the leather is deadstock from an East London leather shop, yet another oddly shaped piece I managed to make use of!”