Marlow Goods will be joining us for the first time this Spring at the fair. We spoke with founder Kate Huling about what’s behind her creative process and were so inspired by the philosophy behind her work. We can’t wait to have them here in Los Angeles for the weekend.
Describe the path that led you to the work you do now and the process behind it.
My husband, Andrew Tarlow and I own and operate 5 restaurants in Brooklyn, NY: Marlow & Sons, Diner, Roman’s, Achilles Heel, The Wythe Hotel, Marlow & Daughters, and She Wolf Bread. The leather goods that I design and produce are made from raw beef and sheep hides that I source directly from the same New York State farms that support our restaurants: Kinderhook Farm in Ghent NY, and Hardwick Beef. All of these farms share our same commitment to nourishing the land, by planting perennial grasses and promoting the regeneration of that land by grazing Red Devon cows, and sheep all year round, and never supplementing with indigestible gmo grains.
Once we pick up the raw hides from the farm, they go to Montgomery, NY to be 100% Veg tanned with Chestnut tannins. Most designers buy what they think is “veg tanned leather” but really it has been chrome tanned (chemically tanned) and then veg finished. There is the same level of smoke and mirrors in the leather industry as there is in the food industry, that is one of the reasons why I was so committed to sourcing each hide directly and custom tanning each one. Then all of the leather goods are designed by me, and hand cut and hand sewn in NYC.
How does the home/city/nature you live in affect your work?
I opened up a small store at 60 East 4th Street in Manhattan last June and it has been incredibly rewarding to be connected with the animals, the farmers, the land, the tanners, and my sewer as well as the woman who takes each leather good home with her.
The leather in itself is so beautiful and special, that I need to do very little to bring it to life into a bag – no unnecessary bells and whistles – the raw, natural beauty of the leather speaks for its self. I also use every bit of the hide, instead of just the butt of the hide, so my customers also get to see the unique character of each part of the hide. I am very much loving how the energy of our lives in the city is deeply impacted by the countryside that surrounds Manhattan and supports our lives, and inspires our lives.
What do you see for the future of your craft?
In the future, I will work more directly on land remediation work, and hope to have our own cows soon as well. Twenty years from now I dream that we will have hundreds of thousands of acres of land under rejuvenate management, and we will be able to source all of our meat from those acres.