maker: T & A Leather
My dad’s work “uniform” consists of a pair of old blue jeans, a long sleeved plaid button down shirt, a brown leather belt, and boots. He wears this outfit every single day as he works in the orchard that I grew up in. One day when I was in high school, I couldn’t find the perfect belt to wear, so I raided his closet and snagged his brown belt. And somehow that belt became a permanent piece of clothing for me. It went with me to college, and travelled with me on every road trip. It moved with me from house to house. I wear it so much still, that I’ve had to do a few little “creative” repairs to keep it in functioning order. But its leather, and it’s soft, and strong, and it smells like dust, and hard work, and adventure and home. It’s a simple belt, but it’s got a story, and it’s a crafted piece of art. Todd and Anthony of T&A Leather know all about the art of leather crafting. And they are showing the world that everyone needs a piece of leather in their life….
please introduce yourself!
Welcome to T&A Leather where we pay homage to traditional leather crafters & mentors who have crossed our path & inspired us to pursue greatness in this lost art. We are aware of the smiles that may have spread across your face as we know that T&A conjures up some-what, inappropriate images in the mind’s eye & we are OK with that! T&A is the first letter of our first name, Todd & Anthony. However you’d like to remember us is totally fine because it makes us smile too. We have wandered around the U.S. living in many great cities such as San Francisco, Boston, New Orleans, New York, San Diego, all of which have had a great impact on our artistry sensibilities. At the moment, we are in Placentia, CA where we create out of our home-based studio… some people call it a garage.
what do you make or do?
With a passion for fashion and a conscious awareness of our limited, precious resources we up-cycle discarded, high quality leather remnants & hand-make each design piece into beautiful, sexy, truly unique accessories, for men & women, that will kick your style to a whole new level. Our Product list includes handbags, belts, cuffs, wallets, guitar straps & many more items. We are constantly evolving and creating new accessories to add to our list and because we up-cycle leather remnants no two items are ever the same. Each piece is a puzzle as we decide which colors, shapes, and textures fit together keeping our creative juices ever flowing.
where can we find your creations?
We currently have products, in a beautiful boutique called Art & Soul of Santa Barbara. You can also find us at the many art festivals we do throughout the year. We bring our tools, with us, to each show so that we can fit and customize our products to each individual buyer on the spot. We can even create a customized item, from start to finish, right there in front of the attendees so that they can experience our crafting first-hand. We always hope to inspire all that come by our booth & we look forward to working with and inspiring you! The shows that we love being a part of and are coming up include: Lucidity Festival, Patchwork, Meet Your Makers, Sunset Beach Arts Festival, Fiesta Hermosa, Summer Solstice Celebration Santa Barbara, Ventura 4th of July street Fair and many more. A list of shows can be found on our website & Facebook page. You can also check us out on Instagram and twitter.
is there an interesting story behind the name of your business? how did the name come about?
The leather is obvious & as mentioned earlier, T&A is the first letter of our first name, Todd & Anthony. However, we needed something that would represent what it is we do with regards to up-cycling leather remnants. With that in mind, we researched high & low for a universal symbol to include in our logo. We found the Ouroboros to fit that bill. It is an ancient symbol depicting a serpent or dragon biting, devouring, and eating its own tail. This symbolizes the cyclic Nature of the Universe: creation out of destruction, Life out of Death. The Ouroboros eats its own tail to sustain its life, in an eternal cycle of renewal. We connect with the Ouroboros as we are, constantly, striving to renew our art through the medium of leather crafting. We create beautiful pieces from leather remnants that would be otherwise discarded, thus giving new life to a precious resource. A big “thank you” goes out to L.A. street artist Septerhed for creating our Ouroboros & with the utmost gratitude to our dear friend Wesley at Wolfbear Consulting for manifesting the lettering & artistic design. YOU ROCK!!!
what’s on the horizon for you and what you do?
We love trying new shows as we learn a great deal with each one. Our next, biggest challenge is taking on our first wholesale trade show, in Las Vegas, called ACRE Las Vegas on April 29th thru May 1st. We are hoping to pick up wholesale accounts to get our product out into the world to as many people as possible. With this kind of show comes a whole set of new rules & we are working hard to prepare for it. BRING IT ON!!!
what inspiring advice would you give to other creatives be they established or just starting out?
“Forego ego”… A mantra we live by. Talk & interact with as many creatives as you can especially the ones that are in similar fields as you. Some will not want to share information but the ones who do, you will find that you will be inspired and in return they will receive inspiration from you. This, in itself, will elevate the artistic soul.