Harriet Warrilow was born out of the love for design but also sustainability. We wanted to create a premium handbag brand using sustainable techniques and leather.
We first sparked interest in using more Vegetable tan leather after researching more into the processes of the modern tannery.
Chrome leather is the main form of tanning in today’s world with 90% of goods using Chrome. It more than halves the time to preserve a hide than more traditional ways. But this also sacrifices the environment. Chrome needs a lot of solutions and chemicals to process the hide into the preserving stage.
But these chemicals are also very harmful for the environment and hard to depose of correctly. Chrome leather can be turned around in a matter of hours at its fastest. So, it can be easily mass produced in the thousands in any colour thinkable. Unlike Vegetable Tan leather, which can take up to 15 months depending on the dyes.
Vegetable tanneries are an art form and are over looked in the premium brand world. Vegetable tan is a process of using plant-based dyes and traditional techniques that bring out characteristics to the hide.
It is a purer form and also adds a lot of personality to the hide.
Chrome is robust and comes in every colour of the rainbow but Harriet Warrilow was about luxury and sustainability coming together in unity. Chrome wasn’t the way forward as a whole for the brand.
We fell in love with the natural tones vegetable tan gave and the distinctive earthy fragrance each hide brought to the handbags. Vegetable tan patinas and becomes richer and softer over time. This is what we wanted for our handbags. A product that aged beautifully and if cared for correctly could last a life time.
We always knew it would be impossible to use veg tan leather for everything across all the collections but we wanted it to be our strong hold. In cases where this is harder to maintain we use recycled, repurposed and environmentally conscious leather.
We pride ourselves on using 100% Vegetable tan leather and repurposed leather on all of our outer shells.
A NOD TO
The brand also wanted to make it our mission to support local and British. This is never going to be the case 100% of the time in manufacturing. But it was about building connections and relationships with the companies we work with. We wanted to support traditional dying trades and to bring them back to life on modern premium goods.
This is where the Black Country trades came into play for the company and the Walsall leather industry. The company was inspired by classical equestrian design so it only seemed fitting to use the most famous area for leather and equestrian manufacturing in the UK. This is also where hand stitching is still practiced to this day. The brand felt it was very important to use a balanced formula of traditional techniques and modern styles to create the collection.
Hand stitching is the finishing addition to the bags that pays tribute to the history of the Walsall saddle makers.
We try to support Local as much as possible and that comes into play even down to our packaging.
Our branding and packaging are all made out of recycled and biodegradable materials, which is very important to the brand. We didn’t want to just think about the sustainability of the bags, it was the whole package.
As a brand we want to keep developing. We want to keep growing the company in new ways of sustainability without jeopardising our style!
We hope you want to come on this journey with us.