Cotance Newletter January 2024

In the ever-changing world of contemporary fashion, leather has always been a key material. While trends rapidly shift, the value of leather remains unchanged. It is celebrated for its strength, luxury, and most importantly, its alignment with sustainable design and slow fashion principles. That is why it is no surprise that all over the world more and more young fashion designers chose to work with leather.

This is the case for Ana Del Rio Mullarkey, a young Spanish/British designer, who recently won the Real Leather. Stay Different. International Student Design Competition 2023 in Milano  and now runs her own leather fashion brand “ANA DEL RIO” with the aim of leading “a Leather Revolution”.

Initially, I was attracted to leather due to its sustainability profile. As a designer trying to work with more natural materials, this durable and biodegradable solution which also adheres to a circular economy model was perfect. Then, as soon as I started working with leather I felt an instant connection to this sumptuous material and decided to use it exclusively for all my designs”, – says Ana.

Talking about her recent award-winning “El Domingo” collection, inspired by her Spanish heritage, Ana explains:

“ “El Domingo” is inspired by the quintessential Spanish Sunday traditions such as visiting the Sunday antique market which I enjoyed when growing up in Madrid. The leathercraft techniques as well as the garments’ silhouettes take references from traditional features such as the wall tiles inside classic Spanish bars or the elevated stonework surfaces on the facades of the historic buildings in my grandfather’s town.”

Read more A N A D E L R I O ( • Foton och videor på Instagram

Moving to Eastern Europe, we find Katarzyna Ostapowicz, a Polish footwear designer and manufacturer, who serves as an inspiring example of the value placed on leather in the footwear fashion industry. With a Master’s Degree with honors in clothes, jewelry, and shoe design from the University of Fashion and Art in Lodz, Katarzyna has already earned widespread recognition as a shoe designer in Poland.

“As a designer, I am committed to ensuring that my products are of the highest quality and serve a good purpose. Natural leather possesses great advantages that meet my expectations. Footwear made from leather is comfortable, resistant to damage, and most importantly, safe for health. Natural leather is an exclusive, beautiful, and timeless material. Items made from it are always synonymous with luxury and elegance. Working with leather gives me the satisfaction and confidence of being able to offer a quality product”, – says Katarzyna.

With her recent shoe collection crafted exclusively from leather, Katarzyna says: “I partially customized it with my own prints using a UV technique. Once again, leather proved to be an unparalleled working companion, allowing me to merge my vision with this noble and irreplaceable material”.

Read more Kasia Ostapowicz

Leather’s timeless nature is mirrored in humanity’s own evolution and innovation. Even today, leather and its sustainable features keeps inspiring young designers worldwide who are not only striving to make a statement in the fashion world but are also committed to sustainable practices.

Their work with leather is a step towards a greener, carbon-neutral future, blending traditional craftsmanship with contemporary values. Thus, choosing to wear leather is not only historically justified, but also an environmentally responsible decision.
Katarzyna: “Purchasing leather shoes or accessories represents a long-term investment, offering considerable savings and environmental benefits. A pair of leather shoes can last for many years, whereas products made from synthetic materials often struggle to last even a single season”.
Ana: “My goal is to create contemporary, timeless leather garments and other pieces which defy fleeting trends and highlight leather’s sustainable attributes. In this world of overproduction and mass consumption I would love people to join me on my Leather Revolution and to embrace unique leather garments which can be loved and which last for many lifetimes”.

Still unsure about choosing leather as part of your wardrobe? Discover ‘Go for Slow Fashion – choose leather‘ and explore another story that will encourage you to embrace more leather into your life.

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You want to know more:
Ana Del Rio “A Leather Revolution” | Instagram
Kasia Ostapowicz |Web
Polish Chamber of Shoe and Leather Industry (PIPS) |Web
Go for Slow Fashion – choose leather! | COTANCE Newsletter 1/2022
Read more linguistic versions and former Newsletters.

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