Hello, we hope you are having a wonderful Autumn. With our annual Slow Living Market upon us, we thought we’d take some time to explore this movement and how it informs what we do here at Doe.
At Doe, we've always been committed to being absolutely transparent and traceable with our work and that starts with our most important material: leather. From the very beginning of our business we have used bridle leather - the strongest and most durable of leathers traditionally used in equestrianism. Taken from the ‘butt’ or centre back of a full-grain hide it develops a beautiful patina with wear.
The centuries old vegetable tanning process for bridle takes 10-12 weeks, unlike 90% of the world’s leather which is finished in a matter of days. It uses bark and plant extracts and natural waxes applied by hand, a very different story from the chromium finish used in polluting 'toxic tanneries'. We combine this with vintage embossed swatches rescued from our family tannery dating back to the 1920s, making every piece truly unique.
For our Market Bags vegetable tanned ‘russet ‘ leather is combined with Pump Street Bakery cocoa sacking, another example of innovative upcycling.
If you have questions about the provenance of anything we make here at Doe, we’d love to tell you more.
Fashion is the second most polluting industry in the world and our insatiable appetite for cheap, throwaway clothes and accessories needs a rethink.
Buying less but better and choosing well can help reverse this unsustainable type of consumerism.
We design our collections to be minimal, long lasting and beyond transient trends.
Originating from the Slow Food Movement (which challenges fast food convenience by preserving cultural cuisine), slow living is about finding the right balance in our fast-paced, over-scheduled, technologically-driven world. This basic belief can be applied to schools, money, parenting, travel and even cities, with the overarching commonality being about connecting back to ourselves, each other and our planet.
SLOW LIVING MARKET
This will be our third year of co-curating this event in Orford Town Hall . As well as welcoming back some favourite artisans we have some exciting newcomers such as Bermondsey Street Bees and Michael Ruh. New too are the Little Slow craft area for under 12s and Shakiro Japanese mending workshops.
Each exhibitor has to fit with our criteria of making in small batches, being as environmentally respectful as possible and able and willing to demonstrate their craft. They actively invite conversations about what they do and take the time to explain the process .
Michael Ruh Glass
Using 98% recycled optical glass and delicately blended colours, Michael Ruh’s work is exquisite. Collected worldwide we are delighted to have his work here in Suffolk.
Esthea Evans Sashiko Demonstration
Sashiko embroidery hails from Japan & is as much about beautiful stitching as it is a 'make do & mend' philosophy. Repairing fabric with intricate, delicate stitches, Sashiko is a meditative craft.
The Merchant's Table
We’ll be on hand both Saturdays for leather-craft and knowledge sharing.
November 10th 10am - 5pm
December 8th 10am - 5pm
The Merchant's Table, 10 Church Street, Woodbridge, IP12 1DH
Badger's Velvet Christmas
A collective of carefully chosen designers, makers and artisans.
November 17th 10am - 5:30pm
November 18th 10am - 5:00pm
The Department Store, 248 Ferndale Road, Brixton, SW9
December 1st 10am - 5:30pm
Rosslyn Hill Chapel, Hampstead High St, NW3
Hello! It’s been a while so we thought it was time to give you an idea of what we’ve been up to. In this newsletter, we're sharing the process behind our popular market bags; introducing a couple of our favourite stockists and suggesting slow living summer activities in Suffolk and London: perfect for taking your market bag along with you.
THE MAKING OF A MARKET BAG
Sold only in-store, our exclusive market bags involve a lot of work to create. Starting with a visit to the Pump St Chocolate unit, we select a number of the cocoa bean sacks - a mix of plain and printed - before thoroughly washing, drying and ironing each one. Usually made in batches of 12, a calico lining and webbing is added by our seamstress whilst we hand-strip whole hides of undyed vegetable-tanned ‘russet” leather for the handles. Next, the edges are bevelled with a traditional grooved tool to round them. A special sap, Gum Tragacanth, derived from a desert succulent, is then applied with a linen cloth. This 'burnishing' is time consuming but results in a smooth, polished finish. Finally, hand punched leather washers from offcuts and copper rivets are set before the label is tied on with twine left over from the bag: we always endeavour to leave as little waste as possible. Practical and roomy, these bags are perfect for packing your essentials in on your slow summer days out.
We’re happy to announce our market bags are now exclusively available in-store at Pump St Bakery and Maud & Mabel. Despite the city/country dichotomy, both stockists place much importance on thoughtful products and slow living, just as we do here at Doe.
SLOW LIVING IN SUFFOLK
Suffolk is fast becoming a creative countryside hub and we think Orford is a great reflection of what this county has to offer. After tucking into the baked delights (and picking up a market bag) at Pump St, why not wander down to the river and catch a ferry to Orfordness Lighthouse? A walk up the 100 steps to the top gives a stunning vista of the peninsula and the chance to absorb a disappearing landscape as the sea encroaches. We also find the ageing interior inspiring in itself - the snap above is from our most recent visit. The lighthouse is open to guided tours (which you can arrange privately) or by joining the monthly open day: the next date is July 8th: book here.
SLOW LIVING IN HAMPSTEAD
Often described as London's most beautiful village, Hampstead & its heath are a welcome green space in the midst of one of the world's fastest moving cities. But there's more to this local spot than the obvious. After you've enjoyed a browse of Maud & Mabel, here are a few lesser known sites to visit next time you're in NW London:
The Freud Museum is the former home of the famous psychoanalyst, his study still untouched from when he lived there - couch included. Dedicated to educating people about Freud and his importance in modern therapy, the museum runs a full and varied events programme for those whose curiosity runs even deeper. The current exhibition, 'Breathe' (on until July 15th) is supported by a one-off event on July 9th entitled, 'The Place of Breath in Cinema', examining 'a cultural history of breath in art and moving image'. Given our culture's current fascination with the role of breathing in mindfulness, we think this would be a thought-provoking evening out.
Heading back towards the Heath, 2 Willow Road is a National Trust property whose owner, architect Erno Goldfinger, was rumoured to be the name inspiration for Bond's notorious villain. A beautiful modernist home built in 1939 (the same year our family tannery moved to its art deco factory) and full of modern art and ingenious design, it's open to the public 11am - 5pm Wednesday - Sunday.
An independent retail and workshop space bringing together the creative talents of Suffolk & London has opened in Woodbridge. The Merchant’s Table is curated by the talented designer Susanna Cook, and we were delighted to have had our market bags chosen to be part of the inaugural event.
IN THE SHOP
The Doe Key Lanyard is bench made using traditional harness making techniques. In hand waxed bridle leather with a contrasting ecru stitch, they are designed to be both smart and enduring.
A hidden stainless steel split ring holds keys securely and each has a small disc of archive print from the old family tannery.
GOOD DESIGN IS LONG-LASTING
It avoids being fashionable and therefore never appears antiquated. Unlike fashionable design, it lasts many years – even in today’s throwaway society.
April 20th 6-9pm
April 21st 10am-6pm
The Department Store, London SW9 8FR
Over 40 designers and artists in one exciting venue
Curated designer selling events
We are delighted to announce a new collaboration with award winning Mark & Fold Stationers. A shared love of simple lines and uncompromising use of the best materials sparked the idea of designing a limited edition Notebook/Diary Cover together.
Durable and tactile hand waxed bridle leather will wear beautifully and improve with each change of note book or diary in the Mark & Fold collection.
The embossed leather pen loops are from archive swatch books found in Doe's family tannery. They date back to the 1930s and are unique and numbered pieces of tanning history.
Only twenty four are being made this time, so early ordering is recommended to secure the loop print of choice.
£185 inc gift box and postage.
We have been busy these last few months with two exciting collaborations.
The first is with the award-winning Pump Street Bakery, up cycling the cocoa bean sacks used for their single origin chocolate bars, into smart leather handled Market Bags.
They are made in very limited runs of 6-12 at a time and have been selling out fast! To order please contact either Deborah at Doe or Pump Street Bakery
The other project we have been working on is with the fantastic charity Fine Cell Work and an ex prisoner who has a passion and talent for leather work. We have created a range of plaited bridle hide cuffs with him and hope to commission more small leathergoods in the near future. Information on the wonderful work this organisation does can be found at www.finecellwork.co.uk
It was a pleasure being profiled for the new online store The Garnered last week. Created by Anna Garner, ex head buyer at Selfridges and Joseph, the international designers featured share her ethos of beautiful craftsmanship.
To read inspirational stories and for gift ideas, do follow the link to the website.
We are taking part in a couple of well curated Christmas sales and do hope to see you there:
The Hand Sale
30th November - 2nd December
St Mary Abbott's Centre, Vicarage Gate, London W8 4HN
Primrose Hill Designer Sale
St Mary's Church, Elsworthy Road, London NW3 3DJ
We are very pleased to announce the following dates and details of forthcoming festive sales, plus a special slow living workshop:
Chelsea Harbour, London SW10 0XD
November 12th | 6.30pm to 9pm
Please call 01473 705030 for information and tickets
Child Bereavement UK Christmas Sale
14 Randolph Road, London W9 1AN
November 18th | 2pm to 7pm
Rosewood Slow Living Workshop
252 High Holborn, London WC1V 7EN
November 22nd | 11am to 1.30pm
Learn about different tanning processes and make a bridle leather tray to take home
Great Dixter Christmas Fair
Great Dixter House and Gardens
Northiam, Rye, East Sussex TN31 6PH
November 28th and 29th | 10am to 4pm
Primrose Hill Designer Fair
St Mary's Church
Elsworthy Road, London NW3 3DJ
December 12th | 10am to 6pm
Photograph: Copyright Non Morris for The Dahlia Papers
We are pleased to announce that our new Cross Body Pouch will be ready to post out in the first week of August. Available in Smoky Brown Morel, Creamy Parchment and Jet Black hand waxed bridle hide and with a choice of vintage leather zip pulls from the old family tannery. Measuring 23cm by 15cm and with an adjustable strap it's perfect for a phone, keys, cards, coins and a passport.
Due to very limited numbers we are offering a pre-ordering service. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org for a 15% price reduction (£126 instead of £149) to reserve your bag.
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Doe is excited to be included in the newly printed The Sustainable Design Book by Rebecca Proctor, published by Laurence King.
It's a beautiful compilation of over 250 world wide designers working creatively and thoughtfully with the environment in mind.
Each listing is cleverly coordinated with icons highlighting the company's sustainability credentials. They all inspire and encourage us to consume carefully, responsibly and after asking important questions of provenance.
With leathergoods, it is more important than ever for diligence as the majority of the world's tanneries are hugely polluting, making lives dangerous for the workers and the surrounding communities . When buying new pieces make sure they are ethically produced and chromium free and also consider recycled leather (although reconstituted is probably best avoided).
Doe will only ever use the best vegetable tanned hides and proudly up cycles archive swatches of printed leather from the old family factory that would otherwise be destined for landfill.
Notable designers also incorporating leather into their collections and featured in the book include Hettler Tulman, Pepe Heykoop and Veja.
Buy the Book
Rosewood Slow Living
Slow Food and Living
Sunday 29 March 2015 10.30am - 3pm
We are delighted to be taking part in the Rosewood London Food and Living event on Sunday 29th March from 10.30am to 3pm.
The beautiful Belle Époque building and tranquil courtyard provides the perfect backdrop for food producers and designer/makers to interact with customers and each other. The Slow Movement which started in Italy over ten years ago is gaining more and more momentum as consumers demand to know where their food, fashion and homewares actually come from and who produced them. This ethos which encourages more consideration, thought and transparency around the purchasing choices we make, lies at the heart of Doe.
Here is a little more on why...
All Doe pieces are crafted in the West Midlands from the finest bridle hide. This type of leather is from the back or 'butt' of European cattle reared for beef and is tanned using natural oils, waxes and tallows. This traditional method takes over two months to complete. In contrast 90% of the world's leather takes only two days to process and uses toxic chromium salts. Vegetable tanned hides develop a lustre or 'patina' and improve with age. More waxes can be gently rubbed in with a soft cloth to further protect and soften it. Cheap chrome finished skins weaken, crack and flake over time and cannot be conditioned or buffed.
Doe designs are deliberately simple and timeless ensuring they become long lasting favourites, beyond the vagaries of fast fashion.
Please come and say hello on the 29th. You can find the Rosewood London at 252 High Holborn, WV1V 7EN. The nearest tube is Holborn and there is free parking all day in the surrounding streets.
Please come along to see us at a lovely sale in Saxmundham, carefully curated by Kirsten Hecktermann. Exhibitors include Sia Taylor, Michael Ruh and Karen Downing
Personalise your luxury leather gift this Christmas.
From December 1st to December 22nd we are offering a free initialled bridle hide zip pull in addition to your selected vintage printed one, with every Tote, Backpack, Clutch or Pencil Case. Please choose up to three letters which we will then hand emboss, making your gift uniquely bespoke.
For further details, please contact us by email on email@example.com or telephone 07584 161282
Doe picked as a highlight of BoB by BDALondon creative design agency - Click here to read.
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