Founded in Suffolk by Deborah Thomas in 2013, Doe focuses on one simple thing: making covetable leather bags and accessories using the best materials and most skilled craftspeople. Working with a traditional family run factory in the West Midlands, Doe are committed to retaining their British heritage and can guarantee that ‘Made in England’ means just that.
Using the highest quality bridle hide they make a collection of bags and small leather goods which improve with age. Customisable zip pulls, linings and loops from the family tannery archives adorn every piece, giving each a unique provenance.
Durable and hard wearing even with daily vigorous use, bridle hide will last for decades. Coming from the ‘butt’ (the thickest and strongest part of a cowhide) makes this the ‘top-tier’ of leather grades. Doe, believe this gifts you with a beautiful, long-lasting piece and as such, are proud to be one of the few makers exclusively using it.
The leather is vegetable-tanned - a slow, natural process which eliminates the common toxic chemicals used in the majority of tanneries worldwide. Both sides of the leather (the ‘flesh’ and ‘grain’) are finished with waxes and oils, in keeping with its traditional equestrian use which ensures the inside of a bridle is smooth against a horse’s face. The natural permeation of these waxes into the leather leads to a ‘bloom’ of residue. With no artificial coating, the leather is allowed to age gracefully over time, developing a unique lustre or ‘patina’ and creating its own story in the process.
In a world of fast-fashion and flash logos, Doe believes that real luxury comes from taking the time to do things slowly. Considered purchasing, as opposed to impulse buying, gives you the chance to know and trust a brand before investing. Slow fashion is more than just a fad - it is a thoughtful, rewarding process which connects you to the pieces you wear in a way that can only be achieved when you truly know its provenance.
Doe is committed to sustainable practices. They use 99 per cent recycled, recyclable packaging as minimally as possible to avoid unnecessary waste. Small batch production of each style means there are never any overruns or the need to discount. All the embossed leather swatches are repurposed and the bridle hide is entirely vegetable tanned. There are no toxic chemicals used in any part of the process as part of a strong commitment to the environment.
Doe have an incredible family history and draws on its family heritage to ensure everything that they make has its own story. W Pearce and Co was founded in 1908 by Deborah’s great, great grandfather William Pearce. The Northampton tannery first produced leather linings for shoes and hats and soon moved to a purpose built, now Grade Two listed, Art Deco factory on the outskirts of town. With the outbreak of WW1 they began supplying sheepskin jacket linings for the troops. After the war they started to focus on creating special effects such as reptile and ostrich prints, and soon had the largest collection of embossing plates in the world. Their reputation reached international markets and they were awarded the Queen’s Award for Export twice.
Leather finishing continued to flourish for nearly 100 years before the tannery sadly closed its doors for the last time in the early 2000s. Deborah and her father rescued the swatch books of Master Patterns dating back to the 1920s realising they could have another life. These original swatches full of colour and texture are now used to add the tannery history to each Doe piece. ‘We are proud that everything we make is a genuine limited edition.’