Welcome to It’s A Long Story from Leather Naturally.

The world’s first ever digital exhibition dedicated to the incredible longevity and circularity of leather.​

Join us on a journey of discovery with films, interviews, galleries and stories as we meet makers, designers and leather repair experts who celebrate the legacy and long lasting qualities of leather.​

Thank you to our supporters, Suzie Fletcher, Anya Hindmarch, Bill Amberg,  Julie Deane CBE and Deni – and the many global brands who have contributed to It’s A Long Story.

Do you have a favourite leather piece – with a story to tell? Why not share your own story with us? Just click on any of the personal story requests throughout the exhibition.

Leather is the material with by far the greatest potential to capture memory. When both designers and consumers who are passionate about leather talk about this, you’ll often hear them describe leather as a living material. Leather captures, complements, and remembers shape beautifully.

A conversation with Liam Maher & Stefano Pillepich, ECCO

We catch up with Liam Maher, Global Creative Director at ECCO and Stefano Pillepich, Head of ECCO Leather Goods to hear their views on the unique qualities, cultural and human values of leather. And their passion for the sustainability of leather at ECCO.

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Worn in StyleUtility and DurabilityLuxury and Longevity​Personal Stories
  • Leather Icons

    R.M.Williams was founded in 1932 with the promise of making boots to last longer. ‘Crafted For Life’, focuses on their ongoing commitment to durability and versatility. Renowned elastic-sided boots are made from just one piece of leather, with a singular seam at the back, reducing the risk of damage and significantly increasing lifespan. Crafted with a Goodyear welt also offers enduring weather resistance, making the boots easier to repair and resole. This circular, sustainable system is centred on the value and preservation of leather, core to the R.M.Williams business which crafts products that people can wear, repair, and love for decades.

  • Leather Icons

    The Adidas Gazelle is a classic sneaker model that has been an iconic part of Adidas’ footwear lineup for several decades.

    It was originally introduced in 1968 as a versatile athletic shoe designed for various sports activities. Over time, it transitioned from being purely a sports shoe to a popular fashion sneaker – including a recent collaboration with Gucci!

  • Leather Icons

    Schott NYC introduced the ‘Perfecto’ jacket in 1928 and the leather​ jacket became an anti-establishment style elevated by Marlon Brando​ In ‘The Wild One’ film and James Dean in ‘Rebel Without A Cause’. The ​Perfecto jacket has featured in the music scene since the 1970s. Loved by​ artists from The Ramones to Bruce Springsteen, it represents rebellion, ​freedom and rugged Americana.​

  • Leather Icons

    With over 50 years of life in a shoe, the Puma SUEDE is made from finest Italian leather and became a classic while going through several name changes! Starting life as the Puma CRACK in the 1950s, this shoe has been adopted and adored by hip hop, skateboard and sneakerheads worldwide.

  • Leather Icons

    With over 120 years of experience, The Boot Repair Company helps to protect, preserve and repair leather footwear from equestrian riding boots to Dr Martens.  They are also responsible for the repair of boots for the British Army, Royal Navy and Royal Air Force, including the Household Cavalry’s riding boots and jackboots and the boots worn by the Brigade of Guards. Find out more here about their Dr Martens repair service.

The longevity of leather - an interview with Julie Deane CBE

“If a leather strap is chewed by a dog – you can repair and replace it. And indeed leather products often look better with age. I have a 14 year old satchel that has aged in a way that looks loved and valued.”​

​​​We explore the unique longevity of leather with Cambridge Satchel Founder, Julie Deane CBE.

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Deni got her first leather jacket when she was 25 years old. The impact of the jacket was huge, a new world opened up. Slowly, she replaced her wardrobe to the point that her wardrobe is now 90% leather. Leather was life-changing for Deni.

Deni is a Leather Fashionista | Author | Blogger

Deni is a Leather Fashionista | Author | Blogger

Leather has been a popular material in the world of fashion for centuries. Its versatility, durability, and timeless appeal have made it a staple in clothing and accessory design. Deni shows you some favourite items.

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  • Leather Icons

    The Morrison bag by Moore & Giles is handcrafted in Spain using a naturally milled suede leather. The milling process creates and individual character that makes each item unique, adding a beautiful depth of colour and vintage texture. It is a bag designed for life, becoming ever better with age.

  • Leather Icons

    The Berghaus Supalites are iconic examples of boots that fuse great design and function. First launched in 2000, these high performance hiking boots set a benchmark for lightweight performance outdoor footwear. They feature 1.6-1.8mm Pittards® full grain leather with a waterproof lining, which offers an excellent combination of protection, abrasion-resistance, and supple flex for use on steep paths. The Supalites have been a firm favourite of the hillwalking public for nearly 25 years.

  • Leather Icons

    The Rocket Bag is a Bill Amberg icon. Originally developed in 1990, it has become a classic of both design and leathercraft, entering the V&A Museum’s permanent archive in 2001, as well as the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. The Rocket Bag looks as good today as it did when it first appeared almost 30 years ago – a truly timeless design.

  • Leather Icons

    The Chicago School of Shoemaking opened in September of 2011. The inspiration for opening the school came from CEO, Sarah McIntosh with 45 years as a custom shoemaker.

    She has made over 10,000 pairs of shoes for customers since 1974. “I saw a niche I could fill by making custom fit handmade shoes and was able to deliver those products for a reasonable price to my customers over the years

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  • Leather Icons

    Brooklands Museum sits on the former site of the Brooklands motor racing track in Weybridge, Surrey, the birthplace of British motorsport and aviation. This 1916 welder’s leather apron was worn by women working at the Vickers-Armstrong Aircraft factory during World War One. The  factory was the principal aircraft manufacturer associated with Brooklands. The badge shows whoever wore this apron was a member of the society of women welders, an active trade union.

Once people know about the longevity of leather, they can make educated choices. In fact, there is nothing better than having a positive and open discussion, taking into account all points of view

In conversation with Suzie Fletcher...

Presenter of BBC’s Repair Shop and a Master Saddle Maker, Suzie Fletcher shares her career story, love of leather and passion for saddle making.

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Leather repair plays a key role in a greener & sustainable economy. The Boot Repair Company has over 120 years experience repairing all types of leather shoes and boots. From the British Army & Royal Navy to Dr Martens and Timberland.

Dubarry Galway Boots Repaired

Dubarry Galway Boots Repaired

Watch the crafted repair of these Dubarry Galway boots

  • Leather Icons

    As our desire for better working and living spaces has grown, leather has been used by designers all over the world to create amazing standout features for homes, offices and hotels.

    Bill Amberg’s studio created this unique leather wrap to the stairs and balustrades within a Grade II listed Chelsea townhouse, containing artist studios formerly occupied by renowned British painters James Whistler and John Singer Sargent.

  • Leather Icons

    The coronation of King Charles III in 2023 saw the Monarch wearing a pair of white leather gloves, originally made by Dents in their Worcester factory in 1937. The glove had been kept in the Royal Collection and Dents supported its conservation ahead of the Coronation. The decision to reuse the glove was ‘in the interests of sustainability and efficiency’, the Royal Family explained.

  • Leather Icons

    Challenged by the idea of a zero-waste future, and looking to nature for inspiration, Anya Hindmarch’s Return To Nature collection is the result of two years of research and innovation. It has involved seeking out tanneries who can show fully traceable skins, tracking down craftspeople who have developed pioneering tanning and finishing methods, and finding ways to make straps adjustable and bags secure without using any hardware.

  • Leather Icons

    As a mode of transport, agility & travel comfort, leather has helped humanity navigate difficult conditions and enable riders and raiders better control and stability.

    Leather Sedan chairs were a popular and privileged addition to European streets from the 1600s. And leather flying jackets have been distributed by the US Army since 1917. As a testament to true longevity, Amelia Earhart’s leather helmet and flying goggles worn on her trans-Atlantic flight in 1928 still exist today!

     

  • Leather Icons

    Coachtopia is the new circular sub brand from Coach, a world of circular craft, powered by community and building towards a better future for our planet.

    Using a © MadeCircular design philosophy, they work backwards, crafting products from recycled, repurposed or renewable materials and designing them to live multiple lives with clear pathways for takeback, reuse or recycling.

  • Leather Icons

    In 2022 Puma paid homage to the Porsche 911 Carrera RS 2.7 with the release of a limited edition sneaker – the Puma Suede – celebrating their mutual 50 year anniversaries. The shoe was made available in 10 different colourways – to match the colours of the Porsche 911. 500 pairs were made and sold out almost immediately.

The Leather Repair Company

The Leather Repair Company

Want to know how to repair scratched leather? Watch here!

Tanner Leatherstein Podcast

Tanner Leatherstein Podcast

During the Podcast, Tanner Leatherstein and Debbie Burton talked about how to read labels when buying leather goods.

I think we need to trust in and return to nature as much as we can. Leather is an incredible, natural, waterproof, flexible, durable material that should not be wasted and has an important place in any circular economy

Listen to Anya Hindmarch discuss regenerative farming and leather making with Monocle Radio

Listen to Interview

Personal Stories

Read the below personal stories about special leather items. Either drag your cursor or use the buttons to view more.

  • Debbie's Tod Bag

    My Tod’s D bag was the reward for the completion of a year-long project back in the 90s. I ignored the advice to keep its beautiful aniline leather away from the rigours of everyday life, preferring to let the wear of daily use develop into something lovelier than brand new. The emotional connection through the last 25 years is very special.

  • Aukje's Baseball Glove

    How a beat-up baseball mitt and a passion for softball, shaped one woman’s teenage years and taught her lessons for life.

    “This glove represents such an important part of growing up. We won and lost games, yelled at each other and always made up, and cried and laughed together.”

  • Nike Olympic Track Shoe

    As the Olympics opened in 2021 so did bidding on an original pair of Nike leather track shoes. The shoes on auction combined a 1960s leather upper and a sole unit that featured the waffle design that was to redefine athletic footwear.

  • Frans' Hat

    During the 700-kilometre trek to Vezelay (F), my trusty leather hat was invaluable. It protected me from the unpredictable weather changes, shielding me from the relentless rain that fell suddenly and the relentless sun that beat down on me during the day.

    As I traversed the ancient path, the hat became a symbol of both the practicality and intention behind my Santiago de Compostela pilgrimage.

  • Gaby’s Nike High Tops

    How many ways can you wear a pair of leather sneakers? Turns out quite a lot actually! I bought these customised Nike high tops in the early 2000s. They were a limited edition project with Liberty and I loved them because the powder pink floral pattern was so delicate and softened the usual heavy style of a traditional high top. I’ve worn these with shorts, dresses, jeans. They are my beautiful ‘go to’ sneakers and never let me down…

  • Pim's Baby Shoes

    My parents already understood in the late 70s how important a pair of good leather shoes is for the orthopedic development of children’s feet.

    Leather, known for its durability and breathability plays a crucial role in ensuring proper support and comfort for growing feet.

  • Hazel's Bag

    I bought my Dries Van Noten bag in a sale at Barney’s New York in 2000. My mother repaired the lining and zip twice and the local shoemaker made new straps. Over the years, the bag has acquired a beautiful patina. Since then, I carry her almost every day!

  • Debbie's Tod Bag

    My Tod’s D bag was the reward for the completion of a year-long project back in the 90s. I ignored the advice to keep its beautiful aniline leather away from the rigours of everyday life, preferring to let the wear of daily use develop into something lovelier than brand new. The emotional connection through the last 25 years is very special.

  • Aukje's Baseball Glove

    How a beat-up baseball mitt and a passion for softball, shaped one woman’s teenage years and taught her lessons for life.

    “This glove represents such an important part of growing up. We won and lost games, yelled at each other and always made up, and cried and laughed together.”

  • Nike Olympic Track Shoe

    As the Olympics opened in 2021 so did bidding on an original pair of Nike leather track shoes. The shoes on auction combined a 1960s leather upper and a sole unit that featured the waffle design that was to redefine athletic footwear.

  • Frans' Hat

    During the 700-kilometre trek to Vezelay (F), my trusty leather hat was invaluable. It protected me from the unpredictable weather changes, shielding me from the relentless rain that fell suddenly and the relentless sun that beat down on me during the day.

    As I traversed the ancient path, the hat became a symbol of both the practicality and intention behind my Santiago de Compostela pilgrimage.

  • Gaby’s Nike High Tops

    How many ways can you wear a pair of leather sneakers? Turns out quite a lot actually! I bought these customised Nike high tops in the early 2000s. They were a limited edition project with Liberty and I loved them because the powder pink floral pattern was so delicate and softened the usual heavy style of a traditional high top. I’ve worn these with shorts, dresses, jeans. They are my beautiful ‘go to’ sneakers and never let me down…

  • Pim's Baby Shoes

    My parents already understood in the late 70s how important a pair of good leather shoes is for the orthopedic development of children’s feet.

    Leather, known for its durability and breathability plays a crucial role in ensuring proper support and comfort for growing feet.

  • Hazel's Bag

    I bought my Dries Van Noten bag in a sale at Barney’s New York in 2000. My mother repaired the lining and zip twice and the local shoemaker made new straps. Over the years, the bag has acquired a beautiful patina. Since then, I carry her almost every day!