The new face of Detroit: Shinola revitalises Motor City
Motor-city brand Shinola offers watches, leather goods and bicycles of the highest quality and craftsmanship
Detroit-based brand Shinola has expanded its unique lifestyle offering to include a handsome men’s leather accessory line and new textured watch straps for A/W 2015. The men’s capsule collection is the first project from the brand’s incoming co-design directors of leather accessories, John Truex and Richard Lambertson.
‘This collection is a great combination of our aesthetic, and the modern attitude and timeless style seen throughout the Shinola brand,’ says Lambertson, having joined the company last October. ‘We’re introducing new silhouettes and upgrading a few existing items for added style and functionality.’ Their debut collection includes a sleek messenger bag, soft unlined tote, a zippered backpack, duffel and unstructured briefcase, in addition to technology cases, belts and wallets.
The respected design duo launched their first line of women’s luxury handbags in 1998 under the eponymous name Lambertson Truex, which was later bought by Samsonite in 2006, before being acquired by Tiffany & Co. in 2009. The pair were then charged with the design and development of Tiffany’s handbag and accessory lines up until 2013. Shortly after, they were introduced to Shinola founder Tom Kartsotis, with whom they shared a penchant for products that are handcrafted in America and above all built to last.
‘It has been really exciting to be working exclusively with American tanneries,’ explains Truex. ‘We’re also very much inspired by the craftspeople we work with in the factory – many of them being Detroit natives.’
For Shinola’s new leather collection, made exclusively from American-tanned leathers and stainless steel hardware, creation begins at Shinola’s Detroit design studio. Here, Lambertson and Truex work side-by-side with a team of five highly skilled leather craftspeople who hone their sketches into prototypes. The collaborative process continues at the Detroit leather factory, where Shinola also produces a portion of its leather watch straps. New strap designs include textured, pebbled styles available for both the Runwell and Brakeman.
It’s a commitment to quality for purpose that perfectly aligns with the company’s recent partnership with Detroit’s College for Creative Studies (CCS). The non-profit college of art and design now offers a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) degree programme in Fashion Accessories Design in collaboration with Shinola. Aiming to foster a new breed of local talent, the curriculum educates students in the design and manufacture of leather goods, hardware and footwear, and is one of few such courses in the US.
Watch this space for a women’s accessory extension that’s already in the works for 2016 as the brand’s European expansion continues with Selfridges in the UK, Archive 18-20 in Paris, Andreas Murkudis in Berlin, The Listener in Frankfurt and AP&Co in Zurich. Shinola may find its soul in Detroit, but its future has a world view.