Sharing the same passion for craftsmanship and the values this holds, Blackhorse Lane Ateliers and Hadston Leather have come together to create a range of beautiful leather accessories that last a lifetime. Read on for leather care top tips.
Who are Hadston Leather, and why do we stock them?
Hadston Leather was created through a love of craftsmanship and the values it holds. Having been taught the leatherworking skills by a master saddler in Cumbria, England, founder Alison Riley witnessed first hand the level of care and attention to detail that goes into each item made.
Having initially trained in Fashion, Alison then went on to learn the traditional leather working skills on a bridlework course, and additionally, a box and case making course at the Cumbria School of Saddlery taught by a master saddler. Here she learnt how to cut, edge and stitch leather by hand.
Those principles form the core of her work and are blended with the knowledge of current trends and creative approaches to bring modernity to a traditional world. The belts that she makes exclusively for Blackhorse Lane Ateliers use classic English Bridle leather, quality hardware and a thoughtful uncomplicated design.
Leather care top tips.
Here, Alison shares here leather care top tips to help you look after your Hadston belt, or indeed any other English Bridle leather product.
- Natural wax and oils are applied to the leather when it is produced. The wax or oil will rise to the surface occasionally appearing as a white bloom. When this happens rub the leather with a soft cloth to feed the wax back into the leather and therefore nourishing it.
- Ideally, English Bridle leather needs to be kept hydrated. This can be done by applying a small amount of Sedgwick Leather Care Balm, which is readily available to buy online. This only needs to be done occasionally.
- If any liquids or dirt spills onto the surface, wipe the leather straight away with a clean soft cloth. Avoid, however, using anything too harsh as it will mark the surface.
- Direct sunlight for prolonged periods of time will bleach the surface. It will darken again over time but to avoid the harsh stripping of colour, it is advisable not to leave your English Bridle leather product in direct sunlight.
- Avoid bringing the belt (or other product) into contact with sharp edges, as the surface will scratch. However, part of the beauty of English Bridle leather is that it will take on the characteristics of your daily wear, showcasing the item’s story.
- The vegetable tanned leather will naturally change in appearance over time and will develop a patina unique to you. Like with the scratching, this is one of the beauties of this natural product.
About English Bridle Leather.
English Bridle Leather is a high quality leather that lasts a long time. The leather starts out firm but it will soften as you use it. It changes in appearance as it reacts to your touch, how you use it and how you handle it, though it only gets better with age. It will take on any scratches it comes up against.
The leather is initially vegetable tanned in Germany, where the raw animal hide is put through a liming process to remove the hair. The hide then goes into tanning drums with vegetable extracts and oils that turn the animal hides into what we know as leather. The undyed leather hides are then sent to J E Sedgwick’s curriers in Walsall, UK. Using a variety of hand techniques, the undyed leather is processed into English Bridle Leather with its distinctive characteristics. This includes removing growth marks, applying colour and also the grease/wax dressing.
The grease which is applied to each side is called dubbin, a mix of animal fats and fish oils. This penetrates into the grain to help the fibres move, and makes the leather water resistant. Every so often the white wax rises to the surface. If this happens, rub the leather with a soft cloth as this will feed the leather and polish the surface.
Alison then bevels and burnishes the edges of each belt with an edge dye and wax to create a smooth feel. She fixes the buckle and belt loop in place using the saddle stitch method. The buckles come from England (if brass) and China (if nickel). All belts are made locally in East London.
What do we stock?
Currently available in black, dark brown and navy, these belts are made to fit through Blackhorse Lane Ateliers belt loops. They are available in a 1 1/2″ and 1 1/4″ width, so they can even be suitable for chinos and tailored trousers, or if you prefer a less chunky fit.
Alison will also be joining us at our Coal Drop’s Yard store, where she’ll be situated to craft her leathergoods, as well as teach leather masterclasses.