Tatum Diamond London: the leather handbag designer turning the tide on ocean waste

Sustainable brand: Tatum Diamond London

15th March 2021

Tatum Diamond London: the leather handbag designer turning the tide on ocean waste

Luxury leather handbag and accessories designer Tatum Diamond has always loved the ocean. As a child growing up in South Africa, she developed a passion for diving, which she describes as her sanctuary. Today, her story comes full circle and she now runs a business that aims to protect the ocean she cares about so much by minimising plastic waste.

We spoke to Tatum about how she has turned her love for bags and passion for the ocean into a successful, sustainable venture.

Hi Tatum – great to meet you! Can you tell us more about your business?

I set up Tatum Diamond London about three years ago. I make affordable luxury handcrafted bags and accessories from my studio in southwest London. My aim is to be as kind to the environment as possible by creating as little waste as I can. I’m proud to say that my bags don’t cost the earth or the ocean.

How did you get into handbag design?

I was a digital (UI/ UX) designer before, but my job didn’t allow me to be as creative as I would have liked. A Christmas present from my husband changed that. He surprised me with a one-day handbag-making workshop and I was hooked. I was amazed at how a flat piece of leather could be transformed into a beautiful, functional bag. It renewed my passion for making things, and Tatum Diamond London was born!

What does sustainability mean to you? How are you embedding it in your business?

For me, sustainability is about protecting the ocean and marine life. I care deeply about keeping the ocean free of plastics and other waste. That’s one of the reasons why I use a durable, long-lasting material like leather. I’m a huge advocate of slow fashion and want to make beautiful, versatile bags that people can use for every occasion and will want to keep forever. I think that’s preferable to having lots of cheaper, synthetic bags that end up as waste at the bottom of the sea.

How does using an animal product fit with your sustainability commitment?

No animals are killed to make the leather I use, which is a by-product of the meat and dairy industries. I’m effectively using a waste product and for me, there’s a rare, powerful beauty in taking what has been discarded or dismissed and letting it live again.

I’m also very selective about the leather I work with and only use vegetable-tanned leather from ethical sources. The biodegradability of leather is also a positive; unlike vegan or PU (polyurethane) leather alternatives, the naturally tanned leather I work with is able to break down in the environment.

What steps do you take to reduce waste in your own business?

I’m very careful about using every piece of leather. I turn offcuts that are too small to use in my bags into items such as earrings.

I use end of line or unwanted fabric to line the bags I make, which means that I’m not creating more but using what already exists.

And finally, I use recycled and recyclable packaging. I’d like the boxes I use to have more than one life in their current state, so I keep them branding-free.

What’s next for Tatum Diamond London?

I’m always looking to do more to reduce ocean plastic and deepen my connection to the ocean and am currently working on a few new bags to add to my waste-less collection. These will be made by combining pre-loved sail cloth and natural leather.

That sounds exciting! Where can people find out more and buy your products?

Anyone interested in hearing about my latest products and collaborations can follow me on Instagram or sign up for my newsletter via the website. That’s where you can also buy my products tatumdiamondlondon.com

Commissions and customisations are also welcome!

 

Images courtesy of Tatnum Diamond London.