Crafting Handmade Bespoke Designs with Recycled Leather
Recently I came across US born and based designer Tree Fairfax on Instagram. Her work is dynamic in it's nature, she creates one off pieces by reusing leather. I was completely in awe of her work not only for it's beauty but also because she really enjoys reusing and avoiding the waste of leather. I found myself scrolling through her pictures and failing in love with loads of her designs (and of course double clicking pretty much everything). In fact I really need to get my hands on a few of her bags - and I think you'll feel exactly the same way. I decided to comment on one of her instagram pictures and to arrange an interview.
You'll find a discount code for her Etsy site, below.
Elektrik Kulture. Who are you?
Tree Fairfax: Tree Fairfax
EK. Where are you from?
TF: USA Roanoke VA
EK. How did you get in to designing and creating your own bags?
TF: I decided to create my own bags when I didn't have the money to buy the expensive bags in the stores. In the beginning I would go to Goodwill and buy all of the vintage leather skirts and jackets. I would use that leather to create bags for my self and friends. My love for working with recycled leather grew! I created more and more and got a little better each time.
EK. You reuse materials? Why have you decided to reuse old leathers (and other materials)?
TF: I love working with recycled leather, the quantity is limited which helps to keep my creativity up! I work with both recycled and new leather however I hate wasting anything, so I prefer to work with recycled leather. I love the look and feel of it. Distressed leather is the best!
EK. What is the biggest challenge you face when doing that?
TF: The challenge is finding more leather and when I have request to make duplicate bags. My supply is limited and I create small batches, I love this but some shop owners do not understand the quantity limits. I love creating one of a kind pieces that will never be made again with that same leather.
EK. Do you still ever buy bags from local shops? Or do you just use the bags you make?
TF: I do buy bags from other shops, there is a shop in my town, The Village which has handmade bags from Africa and I am obsessed with vintage handbags.
EK. How helpful has social media been in supporting your new designs?
TF: Social medial has been huge in supporting my designs. I have collaborated with amazing people from other countries and towns. It's been a huge help in getting my brand exposure and I get so much positive feedback from lovely people that I have never even met!
EK. What 3 top tips would you give to younger designers who are trying to do the same thing as you?
TF: Do what you love, try new things and have no fear!
EK. What should we be looking out for? Whats to come from Tree?
TF: I want to create some new pieces for the home, leather baskets, storage bins, pillows and anything else that I can think of! I am always trying new things, always looking for inspiration, I want to continue to grow!