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April 13, 2016



Richard Lamberston and John Truex inside the Leather Design Studio.

April 13, 2016

This season we’re showcasing our new leather collection by introducing you to Shinola's co-Design Directors of leather, John Truex and Richard Lambertson. Truex and Lambertson launched their first line of women's luxury handbags in 1998. Two decades and several collections later, the duo now call Shinola home. 

John and Richard are based in New York and make frequent trips to our Detroit headquarters, where our leather studio and leather factory are housed.

Read the interview with John and Richard below.

Our leather is sourced from American tanneries.

How did you decide what would go into this season’s leather collection?

John: Leather accessories are interesting because it is a very important part of a man and woman’s wardrobe — a bag, a wallet, a belt, a pair of shoes, travel, day, professional, weekend, lightweight or more durable, big, small, and so you put all of it together and that’s just the beginning thought of it all. On top of that, everyone has this specific need and function for how they carry a bag — what do they put in their wallet? Do they carry photos? Do they carry their checkbook separately or with them? And so we start mapping all this out and begin designing the collection by looking at the people who have come through the front door of the Shinola stores. We really try to understand and take into account what they’re wearing and where they are coming from and we just start designing.

With years of experience creating your own line and working for a wide range of brands, what is unique about the Shinola leather collection?

John: It’s been more of an evolution from then to now, and the biggest difference is working with manufacturers in America and an actual working design studio in Detroit. This is something very new and different for us, which is exciting. Going from the hand drawing and illustration to a computerized illustration with the help of our staff in the studio has been great. We have much more of an organic approach here because of our responsibilities to manufacturing. Our product development team plays a much more active role in the design process because there is a lot of communication going back and forth between tannery, manufacturer and studio. Back in 1998 most of our leather was sourced in Italy.

What has been the most exciting part about working for Shinola?

Richard: One of the reasons we joined Shinola was to conquer the challenge of building an American manufacturing base, and that is key. Bringing leather manufacturing back to the United States again and working for Shinola has been one of our most exciting challenges. Back in the day, America was very important in both bag and shoe manufacturing and now it’s very rare, so to be part of that growth and to encourage people to open factories is exciting.

All Shinola leather products are designed, cut and sewn in the US using American-tanned leather with hardware components sourced from both the US and overseas. 

Shop the New Leather Collection


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