Sara Battiston, founder of the London Leather Workshop, displays accessories made with MIRUM.

The London Leather Workshop calls MIRUM ‘a wonderful discovery’

Sara Battiston is the founder and director of the London Leather Workshop. Sara and her co-founder Melissa recently completed a collaboration with NFW to create a set of beautiful accessory prototypes using MIRUM®. We sat down with Sara to talk fashion, sustainability, and what she loved most about working with MIRUM.

MIRUM accessories

What is the London Leather Workshop?

The London Leather Workshop is a single place where customers interested in learning to design or make a product or customers looking to develop their own collections can find customized services to meet their needs. We started out in 2011, a decade ago now, and the business has expanded over the years to be what it is today.

We are able to assist customers at any point of their project, from designing to manufacturing. In addition to group classes, we also offer customized professional tuition to assist students in learning the exact range of skills they are looking to master.

What makes the London Leather Workshop unique is our personal and flexible approach and our willingness to always go the extra mile for our customers.
We love what we do and care about the outcome of each project.

What got you interested in fashion, and why leather in particular?

I personally gained an interest in fashion through the love of costume. I have always been fascinated by the relationship between a specific culture and its production of creative forms of expression such as art, fashion, music, etc., and how these aspects of culture were always intertwined with other aspects, such as religion, philosophy, politics. Costume used to have a very important role, and its multiple meanings across the culture of a specific society made me passionate about its history.

The curiosity for leather in particular started when I studied the art of leather appliques. Back then I discovered the infinite ways to work with leather, which make this material, together with its durability, a fantastic starting point for so many different uses.

Can you tell us what sustainability means to you and the London Leather Workshop?

Sustainability to us, in general, means getting informed and developing awareness of what impact humans are having on the planet and as a result developing a more ethical way to live.

Sustainability from a business point of view means creating a business profile that embraces and choses ethical and eco-conscious methods and materials across every aspect of the process.

Sustainability does not only mean choosing sustainable materials, but also taking into consideration the whole life cycle of the products when developing them. Things like the possibility to repair a product or providing the service to upcycle or recycle it at the end of its life are paramount aspects to be considered when designing a collection in order to develop a sustainable working system.

Can you talk about what it was like to work with MIRUM?

It was a wonderful discovery! The material excels for strength and durability, and the surface features an amazing texture that requires very little maintenance and is perfect for bags and accessories. Also, it is a pleasure to open a parcel containing MIRUM as it smells amazing!

5 - Black Mirum - King Texture __ Designed and Crafted by London Leather Workshop (1)What do you find most exciting about MIRUM?

It’s exciting to think about the many possibilities that MIRUM, as a genuine and sustainable alternative to non-sustainable plastic materials, can provide to the industry.

The multiple thicknesses and tempers that MIRUM can be produced in allows for so many different constructions and applications. This can give designers the freedom to design their product range without having to compromise.
 
What’s something you found surprising about MIRUM?

I was surprised by MIRUM’s capability to successfully withstand the most traditional techniques widely used in bag and accessory construction, which is not always the case when working with vegan leathers.

What excites you the most about the future of fashion?

We work with lots of students and start-ups, and it is clear that the trend is to create more sustainable business models and provide customers with the option to personalize their products. Also, customers are more and more aware of the impact that non-eco-conscious mass production brands are having, and it looks like many consumers are preferring to shop from more ethical brands, as well as from small and medium sized companies.
 
We feel that these two aspects together indicate that the future of fashion might no longer be commanded by the largest companies only and that people are tending to be drawn to products that can speak to their personalities and not only make a fashion statement.

Pretend it’s 2050. What is different about the clothes and accessories we own?

We hope that by then all businesses will have redesigned their working models in a more transparent and ethical way, translating to clothes and accessories that are highly customized for each individual’s personality, reparable over time, upcyclable and recyclable.
 
Do you have any advice for eco-conscious designers or brands?

My advice would be to get informed and keep updated in regards to the latest and most sustainable ways of working and available materials.

I would also encourage them to embrace sustainability as part of the creative process and at the very start of design, so that it is considered throughout, from goods production, life, and disposal. Collaboration is also important. Chose sustainable businesses to affiliate with in order to create a stronger community with the same ideals.

What’s next for the London Leather Workshop, and where can readers learn more?

After the success we had with our professional courses and private tuition, we are currently developing online classes that students will be able to attend from the comfort of their own homes.

As part of our brand philosophy, we promote and support students and start-ups and we are in fact in the process of establishing relationships with the major Design London universities to provide their students with discounts on all our services.

After a year of being held back due to the pandemic, we are also now planning on restoring our charity service of free tuition for young entrepreneurs in need of support, which was available previously.

Readers are welcome to visit our website where they can find all the information about the services we provide or to directly contact us to receive an initial free consultation!

MIRUM accessory construction

 

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