You might not think it from the name, but a Scabby Robot handbag or wallet is a thing of elegance. Founder Jill Harrell buys beautiful whole hides, like cowhide and sheepskin, for her leather. And her degree in design comes in handy: “The shape of the hide makes me more innovative, since I never want to waste material. Even a raw leftover edge can make a chic small case.” Harrell sews each piece on a vintage industrial sewing machine in her sunny studio in San Francisco’s Mission District.
Noah Marion Quality Goods
Bags for the Ages
When visiting his grandfather, Noah Marion always admired the dapper World War II veteran’s well-kept treasures, such as an antique camera in an aged leather case. Marion, who trained as a sculptor, calls on that idea of long-lasting style in his designs. Punching and stitching by hand in his Austin workshop, he uses time-tested sewing techniques to ensure that no seam will ever unravel. “Everything is made to last, and to look better as it ages,” Marion says. “I want to make things that won’t add to the landfill.”
When they began making bags, Tanya Fleisher had graduated from art school and Roy Katz was working as an architect. Combining high-tech design tools with old-fashioned sewing, they craft their beautiful, utilitarian bags in their studio in Chicago’s North End. The making of each Winter Session bag entails more than 30 steps, from covering the seams to molding the leather so it won’t crack. But Fleisher wouldn’t change a thing; as she says, “I think buying handmade goods slows down the consumer process a little—people stop and appreciate the craftsmanship.”