Sam Brown London is the British accessories brand that has stuck with tradition

Sam Brown London sticks with tradition

Sam Brown London is the British accessories brand that has stuck with tradition

23rd August 2023

There aren’t many leather goods makers around like Sam Brown London, which has firmly stuck to its slow production standards from the very beginning.

Specialising in belts and bags, the company works with only two selected UK-based tanneries – which use vegetable tanning methods to produce its hides. With the process taking up to 15 months (a time period most bigger brands simply aren’t willing to wait), Sam Brown London embraces that steadiness – something that is reflected in its handmade production processes, too.

Business owner Anthony Todd tells Choose Real Leather: “I am passionate about all responsible production. A very high percentage of consumers are so caught up in brands that they just don’t even consider the where and why.”

Of his choice to use only vegetable-tanned leather – a traditional technique that can be traced back to ancient civilisations – he adds: “There are very few tanyards left in the UK, maybe four – three of which are a little bit more commercial – and we use two of them.

Vegetable tanned hide

“Vegetable-tanned hide is a traditional way of curing the hides and uses the tannins in beech and oak chips. The tannins wrap around the collagen within the leather to preserve it. Most quick leather is chrome dyed or what’s called wet blue backs – this is used for nearly everything you see in all shops, from shoes to trainers to coats.”

Despite its firmly British production line (all leather is sourced from beef stock from the West Country or Northern Ireland, while metal hardware is cast in Walsall and Birmingham), Sam Brown has found a loyal customer base in the States, where its Western-style accessories have no doubt been a hit.

At the core of the product line, however, is simple, classic belts in smooth leather with contrast stitching and soft satchel bags in a variety of finishes. Since each piece is handmade to order, customers must allow up to three weeks for production.

Handmade quality leather

For Anthony, these standards are non-negotiable, and attract a conscious customer – though he maintains that more needs to happen in order to see more change across the industry.

“It’s all price related of course – and that’s the main problem, if you want to keep the price low then you have to use cheaper materials and cheaper production methods,” he says.

“It’s a bit of a corny one-liner, but if the price is low to the consumer then the price to our planet is huge. At Sam Brown we just don’t work to that ethos, we offer a great product for a fair price and the due diligence has been done by us. Grass roots-level change will happen – regenerative farming methods are now emerging – but the result will be much more expensive leather production as there will be fewer livestock farmers out there and fewer tanneries. It’s just so important to support domestic product as once it’s gone, it’s gone.”

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