The American Leather industry is a multi-billion dollar industry. It began in the early 1800s with tanneries set up along rivers and continued to grow throughout the United States. Today, it is an industry dominated by larger corporations that produce leather cheaply overseas.
However, many American companies employ skilled artisans to produce quality leather pieces handmade in America. The following list contains ten brands of American leather that consistently provide quality products that will last generations.
10. Frank Clegg Leathergoods
Established in the 1970s, Frank Clegg Leathergoods is a New England company started by Lawrence Clegg, who is now considered an authority on leather care. The company offers a line of well-made products that are handcrafted using full-grain Horween leather and USA steel hardware to ensure durability.
According to their website, all their leather goods are handcrafted on the South Coast of Massachusetts. The brand has received international recognition for its quality over the years. Several celebrities have become fans of this label.
9. Lotuff Leather
Lotuff is a modern brand that was founded by two friends in 2006. According to the founder's website, they named the company Lotuff after an Old English word for a leather pouch carried around by workers needing items for their job. This brand produces handmade American-made goods sold at stores throughout the United States and Canada and online. You can find various products made from full-grain leather and other materials.
8. Noah Waxman
Noah Waxman started his company in 2013 after spending a decade in Amsterdam learning the craft. The brand has become one of New York's most popular designers. The company offers a wide variety of well-reviewed products for their comfort and functionality, including bags, briefcases, wallets, belts, gloves, hats, and jackets. They employ skilled American workers to make their products as an all-American brand.
7. Slightly Alabama
Slightly Alabama is a leather company founded in 2013 by Dana Glaeser and located in New York. The brand offers handmade goods made from full-grain vegetable-tanned leather. Their products are mostly bags and include accessories for other things, including wallets and even musical instruments. They produce items at their studio in West Village, NY, developing a strong following.
5. Corter Leather
Corter Leather is a Brooklyn-based brand that makes products out of full-grain leather, emphasizing functional design, which has led it to become one of the most popular brands among cyclists and runners for their belts, bags, and wallets. As they are based in New York, they can produce items quickly using local materials and American workers experienced at making these types of goods.
4. American Leather Co
American Leather Company is a brand that specializes in all types of leather goods, including bags, wallets, and belts, but also produces home accessories such as dog leashes and collars as well as seat belts for vehicles. All products are handmade using full-grain 100 percent leather. It's based just outside of Dallas, Texas—a city with a rich history of producing quality leather goods.
They partner with local companies to ensure the items are American-made and locality-focused. Americal Leather Co website uses rigorous quality standards, high-quality American-sourced leather, and versatile designs to ensure that your bag will endure any test of time.
3. Timberland LLC
Timberland LLC is a premier leather company founded in 1952 by Nathan Swartz, named it after the Timberland region of Gray's Woods, New Hampshire. At its founding, Timberland was created as a small workwear company that produced work boots and other items using leather tanned in Dover, New Hampshire. Today, the company is located in Boston, Massachusetts, United States. It's known as a fashion brand specializing in outdoor clothing and work boots, but it still produces the original boots of its early days.
Filson is an American company founded in 1897. The initial focus of the Filson company was on durable goods for use in the Great Plains, Rocky Mountains, and Pacific Northwest, where they were made "ready to survive any disaster Mother Nature could devise." Along with boots, Filson's most famous product is weatherproof and durable waxed canvas goods. The company is based in Seattle, Washington, has five retail stores across the United States, and offers its products for sale worldwide on their website.
Billykirk is an American leather company known for its high-end handcrafted men's accessories. The company was founded in 1999 and quickly became the first-ever Made in America movement. What initially started as a small company selling vintage watch straps has transformed into an entire collection of leather bags, accessories, and other wares for men. Their entire production is based out of Jersey City, New Jersey.
1. J.W. Hulme
J.W. Hulme offers a full line of high-quality, classic leather bags and accessories for men and women. Established in 1905 as a binder and cover manufacturer, J. W. Hulme now focuses exclusively on designing and producing fine leather goods, including travel bags, backpacks, laptop carriers, wallets, belts, and other small leather goods.
According to J.W. Hulme, they are also manufacturers of high-quality, distinctive goods loved by modern explorers, travelers, life explorers, and individuals with unique preferences. Their all fine leather items are handmade by local artisans using traditional manufacturing techniques such as saddle stitching and hand finishing.
What is the history of the leather industry in the US?
In the early 17th century, leatherwork began in North America. Before 1650, tanneries were established in Virginia, New England, and the middle colonies. And shoemaking started to make history.
The leather industry in the United States is responsible for producing a large percentage of the world's leather. The US has long been known as one of the most experienced countries globally when it comes to tanning and working with leather. It began with Spanish explorers looking for gold but instead found large amounts of hides that could be tanned into peltries (animal skin).
As time went on, this trade grew along with European settlers, eventually becoming one of the largest industriesToday, leather brands are increasingly competing with each other based on quality, luxury, and design. The cost of manufacturing is lower than in any other country. However, the lack of availability of skills is becoming a problem for both startups and established firms.
The US leather industry has a long and prosperous history that dates back to the 16th century. It grew into America's biggest industry from its humble beginnings in tanneries. Today, many of the world's leather goods are designed and manufactured by American companies by renowned leather brands.
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Written by Dana Hanson
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