Tracey Tanner- Kick ass leather

I got to hang out yesterday with my friend Tracey and her muppet-dog, Cleo in their Williamsburg studio. Tracey's an inspiration to me because of her can-do attitude. She's off to Coachella this weekend, but we caught up and had a little chat about making, creativity, and using power tools.

Name: Tracey Tanner
Hometown: Upstate New York
Where do you live now: Williamburg, NY
What do you do: Designer and owner of Tracey Tanner

Isobel: You make really gorgeous leather goods. Can you tell me a little about how you got your start as a designer?

Tracey: I  went to Pratt Institute and studied fashion design.  I ended up making leather jackets as part of my collection senior year and had a bunch of scrap left over so I decided to make some small items out of them.  My little cousins really liked them and had me make some for them and their friends.  After that they suggested I take them to stores (which I did) and it grew from there.  I've always been designing things but I fell into the accessories and as long as I'm happy doing it I see no need to make any changes.

Tracey and her design assistant, Sarah, in the studio

Isobel: You make all your bags in the  US. Can you talk a little about what lead you to that decision?

Tracey: I do make everything in the US - most in house.  As things are growing I'm having some local ladies help with sewing but every piece is still being cut in my studio.  There is a level of quality that I strive for (I make products to last) and I think it's hard to maintain that level of craftsmanship for thousands of miles away.  I like support local crafts-people.  

Tracey and Cleo

Isobel: We were chatting today about the creative environment of Williamsburg. Does that inform you creatively?

Tracey: It's nice to have creative energy around me but I find inspiration everywhere.  I try to spend very little time looking at what others are doing or what "trend" is happening.  I kind of do my own thing.  I make things that I want to use and use leathers that I find interesting.

Isobel: Is there a specific woman you design for?

Tracey:  I try to offer a range of products for all types of women.  My client ranges from 20's - 60's generally (30's and 40's probably the most).  My client is a utilitarian woman, using items that can transition for all types of occasions.  The range I have for men is somewhat limited but again utilitarian.

Tracey is wearing her Bryr Abilene boots in Ebony.


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