Pauline Harris is the director of Cromford Leather – a leather specialist which champions the personal and the hand-crafted in a world of increasingly fast fashion. She speaks to IMBARC about the allure of leather, the growing demand for craftsmanship, and of course what makes a good jacket.
What is the brand ethos of Cromford Leather?
Our ethos is to produce high quality English-made, well-fitting garments. Everything we do is to the highest standard. We source the best leather, suede and sheepskin, to create our classic yet contemporary designs. Over decades of experience we have honed our skills, to become true leather specialists.
How did you first become interested in artisanal fashion?
I’ve always liked making garments, from a young age I took garments apart and made my own creations, I always enjoyed coming up with my own designs. I like good quality jackets and leather is unusual and challenging as a material.
Do you think there is a growing consumer demand for high-quality goods that have been crafted as opposed to mass produced? What do you think is driving this trend?
Yes, with globalisation, most things can now be sourced cheaply and easily so it is becoming much more niche to have something hand-crafted. Our customers come to us from all over the world to get personal service and a luxury garment produced just for them. Our bespoke offering is becoming increasingly popular, with clients wanting little unique features, exclusive to their design.
Do you think more consumers today are looking for locally made, “British” goods than in the past 20 years? Do you think the Royal Wedding has had any influence here?
We have seen an increase in interest from overseas clients, many of whom enjoy the cache of having a garment hand-crafted in London for them. British heritage speaks for itself and clients appreciate our traditional, core values of quality materials and exceptional workmanship.
Quality leather brings about a sense of nostalgia, from the way it smells to the softness and weight of the garment. How do you feel this sentiment aligns with the heritage and history of your brand?
Leather has a richness, depth and characteristics that no man-made material can equal. A good leather jacket improves with age and wear. Our core values of quality and expertise lend themselves perfectly to leather as a good quality leather jacket is made to last!
What are your top three essentials that you can’t travel without?
Passport, toothbrush, sense of humour.
Name someone whose style inspires you.
Lauren Bacall because she wore trousers so well. And at a time when not many women wore trousers.
What is your favourite part of London and why?
Marylebone. Because of its understated charm and friendliness.
What is your favourite city to visit in the world and why?
I’m going back 20 years, but Harare. It was unique and I have the most amazing memories.