Edward de Lacy has come a long way from making his first bag from an old pair of jeans whilst studying a Fine Arts Degree in Leeds. Currently located in Manchester de Lacy is making the most beautiful bespoke leather bags and accessories with attention to detail and creative designs at the forefront of each design.
Iced Vovo spoke with Edward de Lacy about working with leather, maintaining design and production independence and what influences his artistic style:
Q: You established de Lacy in Leeds in 2005 what drew you into making leather accessories?
A: I used to stitch fabrics together to stretch and paint as canvases, and one day thought a bag would be easy to make.
Q: Was your Fine Arts Degree in this area or what design background are you coming from and how has this assisted in your business/designs?
A: In my time at University I produced minimalist sculpture and installations, but in my spare time I developed the bag designs along side this.
Q: What do you love about working with leather?
A: Leather is great to work with as it is quite malleable, it does not fray like fabric and it has a great lifetime, and betters with age if you have great quality leathers, and of course the smell, of which I am now immune to.
Q: You use a wonderful range of leathers and hides. I read where they are mainly recycled leathers from high end upholstery manufacturers – what is good about these leathers aside from their durability?
A: The leathers sourced from high end bespoke furniture makers are the best in quality and I feel it is a benefit for any business to start and practice eco friendly ways of producing products. It is also a surprise what can arrive when ordering leather like this and can inspire a collection as much as when I choose the leathers and colours from tannery’s myself.
Q: The inside materials are mostly Liberty of London Tana cottons that really add to the beauty of each bespoke piece. I adore Liberty prints for their wonderful harmony between colour and pattern, what draws you to using Liberty cotton?
A: The cotton quality is amazing as are the print finishes, and the designs they produce are both modern and classical. The colours in many of their designs are striking yet subtle and fit beautifully with the colours, tones and grains that can be found in the variety of leathers that I use. They are not the cheapest fabrics out there, but leather is not a cheap product either so I wanted something to reflect the quality of the leathers I use and also add to the beauty of each piece. A bag is great when it looks beautiful from the outside but it extra special when this can also be achieved when opening it up!
Q: Your pieces seem to have a lovely balanced aesthetic between edgy modernism with some references to Art Deco, other fashion designers such as Vivienne Westwood to name but a couple, what inspires your designs?
A: Many things inspire a collection from traveling to other cities to experience new found cultures and fashions, to going to art galleries and a love of live music. A great amount of inspiration comes from the particular leathers and materials themselves, maybe finding a new leather/texture/print pattern can influence a new design or seeing what colours/details other fashion labels are currently using within a collection I have found when visiting new places.
Q: I noticed that you offer clients a commission service too which may vary from a super-special bespoke design to simply a request for an existing design in another colour. Has this side of the business developed from the desire to steer clear of a mass produced business and what do you like about working with clients?
A: I am currently still keeping clear of mass production, I believe there are great benefits not just for the business but for the consumer to not mass producing.
I design the collections and produce around five of each style in different colourways then once they have sold out they are then made to order. I think controlling each aspect of the process from design to finished product is an important aspect for my brand as it allows me to offer customers a different colour if they want or a slightly different size of a design, or a different lining fabric/pattern. This is a great benefit of a small business I guess when you don’t have to commit to producing numbers of stock and buying in just a few colours of leathers for each collection.
Another benefit is that I can produce unique bespoke pieces which are never repeated, which you just don’t get with other designer brands who mass produce their stuff. I think around 50% of my business is now commission work whether it be a client who wants a design from the current collection in a different colour or a client who gives me a few basics like the rough size they want the bag to be and the colour, then let me loose on creating them a one off piece.
Q: Can you tell people a little about what you currently have in your range?
A: The 2013 spring summer collection has been influenced by soft natural leather tones working alongside suedes in acid pop colours, multiple natural textures working in combination with plane surfaces and a bold use of metal trims. Key details include pop up corners, colour blocking (both contrast & tonal), multi wearable items and beautiful liberty print linings.
A small collection of five bespoke biker bags will also be available at the end on January which take inspiration from biker jackets. The key bag in this collection has been upcycled from an authentic biker jacket and is a real show-stopper. Each piece in this small run is bespoke and cannot be repeated.
Q: What do you most like to make?
A: I most like to create one of a kind pieces where I can work across a free reign, and this is where new ideas / designs can be found out, and new ideas can be realised for a new range for the next collection I am doing.
A: This would be a hard one to pin down I have created so many bespoke bags over the last 7 years, but I think the 1st bag I produced in my soon to be available biker collection is currently my favourite.
Q: What can we expect to see in 2013? What new additions might you have coming up?
A: There will be a whole new collection available for A/W 13 which will include the use of both natural coloured hair-on cow hide and coloured hair-on cow hide leathers such as electric blue and olive green. I will also be using real cow horn handles for these bags which will all be bespoke. I also intend on tweeking the current designs from colour to design. There is also a brand new clutch design in the pipe line for Fall 13.
Q: Where else are your beautiful leather goods stocked aside from Etsy and your online shop?
A: I have a couple of stockists in the US, and a couple in the Far East and one here in the UK, I mainly deal direct with my clients through Etsy and Delacyonline.com
Trying to decide what bag to add to your collection is going to be the hard decision – or is that just me!?! To see more of Edward’s gorgeous leather goodies follow the links above or on the Fab-Finds Page.
(P.S. All photos courtesy of deLacy Designs)