Here at Bias we are always on the lookout for new products that compliment and develop our ever growing curation of European and Scandinavian labels. We stock brands that you won't often find on the UK high street, but are well known for example in Denmark, Italy or Spain. We also love supporting smaller independent designers, for a more eclectic mix. Luckily, being based in South East London, we don’t have to look very far to find exciting new artists and makers, and sometimes they find us! Dom Callaghan (founder of Noble Handmade) just so happens to be one of those people. After striking up a conversation with us in store, and eventually showing us a selection of his luxury handmade leather accessories, we knew he had to be a stockist.
It's always great when someone walks through the door and finds a new home for their work. You may have seen some of his backpacks, wallets, and glasses cases on display in the store recently; each piece beautifully crafted with quality and precision. They look and feel elegantly robust and there is something pleasingly non-gender about the whole collection.
Dom also uses ethically sourced, vegetable tanned leather. Now, ethical fashion is a complex subject. It can illicit a mountain of questions and mean different things to different people, but as an independant boutique we try to maintain a social and environmental conscience. Particularly when it comes to products like leather goods - we see the significance in our customers being able to know exactly how and where they were made, the whole process from start to finish. Too often with larger scale production and chain suppliers, this just isn’t the case.
These exquisite accessories range from £45 cardholders to £299 backpacks - they are a real investment, but as with all high quality leather products, they are functional, age well can last a lifetime.
We decided to catch up with Dom to find out a little more about Noble Handmade and what it’s like to be living and working in Peckham.
So... How did Noble Handmade begin?
Noble is my middle name (seriously) and so I would say in some ways Noble Handmade is a physical expression of my character. During art college at The Ruskin school of Drawing and Fine Art I began to develop an interest in functional beauty; pattern, decoration, furniture etc... Objects that,for the sake of function and everyday-use, never sought a platform in the art world. I was working a lot with wood; making a few bespoke commissions for friends (Benches, chests, tables, bird-tables, boxes...) and it felt like a natural progression to move onto other raw materials like leather. I gradually learnt the skills behind the craft; correcting my mistakes as I went and receiving a greater understanding of the material. It's funny to look at the original Rucksack (Caleb) and compare it to some of the newer products.
Your studio / workshop is in Peckham - how did you end up here and how are you finding working in the area?
My wife and I came to Peckham 3 years ago and we rent a house through a local church. Soon after we moved I received an art prize which meant I could turn the spare room into a studio and now workshop. We love Peckham. We appreciate the diversity of people you can meet and value the amount of creativity in the area.
Who are your products aimed towards?
I would say we are targeting the young professionals and free-lancers in their late twenties to forties. Men and Women who want to look stylish but also have a need for practicality.
What made you decide to use ethically sourced leather?
It seemed a no-brainer to me. Regardless of my own personal views, there is an increasing demand in our culture for companies to be accountable for what they are producing. It is re-assuring to know the history behind a product.
What made you want to sell your products in Bias?
Firstly, I love the products at Bias! Secondly, there is a clear appreciation for design, style and the handmade. Sally is also so welcoming and friendly towards everyone who walks through the door. I immediately wanted to have my bags and cases in amongst the striking designs and labels the store exhibits.
What is your biggest inspiration?
I would say that LIGHT is my biggest inspiration. Light always surprises me with a new pattern or flickering shadow. It is consistent. It has the ability to make even the most mundane things beautiful and it breathes inspiration every day.
Where is your favourite place in South East London?
Well I think I would have to say, either the Peckhamplex cinema or Beer Rebellion on Queens Road.
Anything exciting happening for Noble Handmade at the moment?
Other than getting my products into Bias...! I am experimenting with new leathers all the time; refining the making process till it's just right. I have recently developed a new Ladies Handbag known as Rebekah and I am in the process of releasing a hand-painted range to add to the collection.
Any last words?
Noble is still a small home-grown business. Check out the website, follow us on instagram and get in touch, as we would love to hear from you!