The methodical and precise sound of a sewing machine is oddly calming.
It is one of those steps that looks as if it can be done in an auto-pilot state of mind. But it is actually a job requiring incredibly skill and a deep knowledge of the machine and its relationship to the person. In order to perfectly sew a bag, one must know the machine’s personality – its strengths, weaknesses, and quirks.
Perhaps it is this level of intimacy – a result of such precision and perfection along with the constant uniformity of the sound – that makes it so calming:
Our Bridle Collection – Crafted by hand in New England
We’ve spent the past two years searching globally for the best vegetable-tanned and fully struck-through bridle leather, sampling hides from around the world. After selecting only the best leather we could find, we took some of our most popular styles along with some new designs and crafted a truly unrivaled collection.
All of our bridal pieces are incredibly smooth, strong, and handsome. The very nature of the bridle leather allows each bag to stand up on its own – no slouching and no leaning. With each day, a bridle leather Lotuff bag will take on a form of its own - developing a unique character, patina, and look. It’s a traditional collection meant to last for years.
Though still small, most communities in Vermont tend to have enough residents to still be classified as towns, complete with the necessities of modern New England life. But as we made our way through the state, climbing hills on winding roads and stumbling in an almost accidental way upon little places with names like Newfane, Jamaica, and Dorset, these towns began to feel more like hamlets.
Perhaps it is the chameleon character of the buildings – green and white architecture quietly blends in with the green and white landscape – that gives this impression. Or maybe it is the lack of expanse and room. Paradoxically, with all of the surrounding open space, each town’s center can be a bit claustrophobic with the general goods store sitting cozy with the post office and the church sharing grounds with the town hall.
One of the jewels of Vermont’s town-dotted landscape is Manchester, a tiny yet cosmopolitan hub in the middle of the Green Mountain National Forest. There – in the center of Manchester Village, across from the storied Equinox Hotel (est. 1769!) is Covey & Nye, one of Vermont’s finest stores and the newest shop to carry Lotuff Leather.
At Lotuff Leather, our goal is to make the finest ‘Made in America’ men’s leather goods available. We are seekers of the fine and the unique. We cut no corners and spare no expense all the name of creating products that will enhance your life. We’ve come to be known as having no exterior logos, using only the finest vegetable-tanned leather and solid-brass hardware, and designing our bags to be serviced and cared for over the years.
We set off a year ago to make a women’s bag that fit into our core aesthetic – a true women’s bag influenced by our tradition of excellence in men’s wear.
We wanted to create a timeless yet interesting shape. So we drew inspiration from the boys and used the golden ratio of proportion with a slight lengthening, resulting in a slightly thinner and taller silhouette. The bag needed to be structural yet soft, so we chose to fully leather line it with the same quality leather both inside and out. This allows for the bag to stand tall and not slouch over time, yet it stays soft and supple to the touch.
The making of the first Zipper Satchel #9
We wanted the bag to effortlessly transition from casual to formal situations, with a direct influence coming from great women who have the effortless ‘dressing down’ routine to a science.
Trends are often visibly represented in hardware, which can date the bag. So we just stripped the hardware down to only the essential. The hunter green color was influenced by our favorite iconic waxed-cotton jacket, and the hand-braided tassel was inspired by a riding crop for distinction.
This bag is a game changer and sets the bar quite high for quality. After all, quality needs to be expected for a domestically manufactured bag.
A globe-trotting owner of our Duffle Travel Bag recently wrote us a note with this picture attached. Since its creation, Bag A009 has traveled over 70,000 miles by land, sea, and air. Here it sits on the dock, with a Finnish archipelago as a stunning background.
Pictures like these inspire us to work and to travel. Its incredible to see how something that comes out of a small New England shop can make its way around the world and become such an important part of one’s travels. As the owner of the bag wrote, “thanks for the great bag, it makes my every travel more elegant and joyful.”
This is the first in a series of posts on our recent trip to southern Africa and the journeys our bags took with us. We started in the coastal city of Cape Town, South Africa and made our way north to the deserts of Namibia and the preserved plains of Botswana, concluding in Livingstone, Zambia with a quick jaunt across the border to Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe. Along the way we snapped the stunning natural beauty of the African continent and used some of our favorite Lotuff Leather pieces. They’re the bags we carried each step of the way – an affirmation that what leaves our New England shop stays with you all the time, becoming a part of your travels.
The Cape of Good Hope juts southerly out of the African continent, marking the point where the Indian and Atlantic Oceans greet each other and where, for centuries, tradesmen, sailors, explorers and travelers have congregated.
Peering over it is the city of Cape Town, one of Africa’s bustling and diverse metropolises. The riches that its natural resources and globally strategic location have delivered are noticeable in an accrued elegance evident around the city. Yet the pockmarks of a difficult past are still evident, providing a unique juxtaposition of a complex city of roughly 800,000 people.
We checked into the Ellerman House, a luxury complex nestled in between the heart of downtown Cape Town and the vast Table Mountain Natural Reserve. Like Nairobi and Rio De Janeiro, Cape Town is a city that pulls off a urban living with large swathes of preserved nature, all within its city limits.
Like so many have done so before, we used Cape Town as a point-de-entre into the rest of the African continent. After checking out of Ellerman, we flew north to the deserts of Namibia, where hot air ballon rides and sunset picnics awaited.