With all these changes leather-working got put on the back burner. It remained in the back of my mind, but it wasn’t until COVID 19 and the lockdowns that I returned to it.
In March of 2020, the restaurant I worked at temporarily closed due to restrictions. I found myself at home with a 2- year-old, without child care, and with no idea of when restaurants would re-open. So, I decided to transform the attic of our house into a studio and I dove headfirst into launching Jytte Designs. I spent the summer of 2020 designing my first collection and on December 1st, 2020, I re-launched my business.
Jytte Designs epitomizes quality over quantity. My hope for every bag I make is that it finds a home where it will be cherished for years and then passed down. My designs, while unique, maintain a classic and timeless aesthetic that can be worn for generations. I use only the highest quality materials and design each pattern with as few tear points as possible. Every bag is laser cut for precision and hand-stitched, with just a needle and thread.
Why are handbags as accessory so important?
I love accessories; bracelets, rings, headscarfs. But handbags and shoes are the only accessories that combine fashion and functionality in an indispensable way. We will always need a bag to hold the items we can’t leave home without; keys, wallet, phone. My goal is to fill that utilitarian need with something beautiful.
What does sustainability mean for you?
Sustainability is multifaceted. You could have a bag made of wildflowers but if it's designed in the US, with samples made in Europe, then mass-produced in China, you will have completely nullified the benefits of the material by shipping the products back and forth across the planet. Leather is a natural, biodegradable bi-product of the agricultural industry. It is one of the strongest materials used in handbag design and only gets better with age, making it the perfect material for heirloom quality items.
From the first sketch to the final product, all of my bags are made in Detroit. Each bag is made to order, reducing waste, increasing resale value, and eliminating the practice of discarding surplus products to landfills with every new fashion season.
Why have you chosen to use leather for the design of your handbags?
Durability, beauty and longevity. I believe in the slow fashion movement and the benefits of investing in fewer, higher quality items that will last a lifetime. Using high quality leather in my designs ensures they will last, grow better with age and hopefully be passed on the future generations in the vintage market!
Each bag is hand-stitched, with just a needle and thread. The exposed seams are an integral part of the design of each bag. On even the simplest bag, the intricacy of the stitching adds a beauty and sophistication that is rare to come by.
Where do you find your inspiration to design new leather handbags?
- Old photos of my family; my mom had amazing style!
- Nature; one of my most popular designs is inspired by the moon.
- People watching; I love sitting on a patio and watching the people walking past. I get so much inspiration from the colors and silhouettes of customer in line at the cafe or strolling along the Detroit riverfront.
Where do you hope to see your brand in the future?
From a business perspective, in boutiques across the US. From a personal perspective, I want to see a bag from this first collection, on the arm of a woman 30 years from now. That woman is now a grandmother. The bag has only gotten better with age, its even more soft and supple with the perfectly intricate stitching still immaculate. And the woman’s grandchild is admiring the bag and hoping one day they will wear it.
Credits: Daniela Lisi and Rachel Cuccia.