When shopping in Thailand, it’s a challenge to escape from identical items for sale, everywhere. Similar clothes and bags, which is great if you have always dreamed of owning a flouro orange vest (that every other tourist owns) or a fake pink plastic Chanel purse.
Emerging from the cheap fake bags, purses, clothing and belts comes the consumer need for quality and a product that will last past the security gates in Bangkok.
What better quality and robust material can you get than leather?
Thailand has always been known for handmade goods, especially the Northern hill tribes. Now in the south, shops are appearing where the owners combine custom made items for sale, with a view of their workshop. Customers can pick and choose to their hearts content and see their product being created.
Process of making a leather bag
This is a method of making that takes time and skill. Depending on the intricacy of the design it can take from 2 days upwards. Every aspect of the bag has to be visualised before in a three-dimensional state and then deconstructed into layers to be made.
- The leather needs to be chosen, the colour and also the thickness of the material.
- The individual elements of the bag are designed before, pockets, stones, shells, decorative skin or any extra embellishment.
- For the sides of the bag, shapes are made from cardboard or a pre-designed shape is used.
- Using the cardboard the leather is cut to size and shape.
- These shapes are glued together with exceptionally strong bonding glue along the seems.
- The buckles, shop labels, buttons, stones, magnet fasteners, zippers, pockets and liners are added.
- Holes are punched along the length of the seems using a sharp tool and hammer.
- The last and longest process is sewing the bag together.
Leather shops on Koh Lanta
Lanta is lucky enough to have three places you can find great quality, handmade leather bags and products. All three places have very different style concepts.
50 Sri Raya road, Old Town
Located in old town, Lanta Leather has been operating for over five years. The shop feels airy and open to encourage easy browsing at your leisure. The workshop a true pleasure to visit, with a wall full of colourful, cardboard patterns, tools and lusciously leather lying around, it evokes the feeling of stumbling into a creative den.
The bags are designed with a classic style, quite formal in appearance with straight edges that are all meticulously sewn together. In addition to the bags they sell a variety of handmade sandals, belt bags, belts, wallets and business card holders. There is also some jewellery and clothing on display for sale.
The leather bags look and feel solid, the design is neat and compact. With some interesting details sewn in, such as Sting Ray and Snakeskin, they also uniquely use leather etching, which creates a delicate and ornate decorative pattern.
Lanta Leather take private commission’s, the time and price depend on the size.
Klong Nin beach
Rasta Baby has been a beach bar for thirteen years, an ideal spot on the corner of Klong Nin beach. The shop has been operating for six years. Walking to the bar through the shop your senses are bombarded with treats, objects of desire to touch and consider not; “do I need it, but how badly do I want it?”
On sale are a huge range of leather items such as; bags, belt bags, shoes, string shoes, boots, suede clothing and wallets. There’s a great collection of handmade silver jewellery and various clothing; dresses, shirts, trousers etc. Not forgetting the distinctive handmade string bikinis, not so much practical but truly fabulous.
The styles of the leather products are ‘Boho chic’ and commissioning is made easy by the leather draped in the shop on display to fondle and fuss over, orders can take from two days upwards. All the bags are finished with an individual satin liner, giving an impression of high-end fashion.
After almost ten years Irie bar is now a firm establishment on Lanta, the Irie Artwork shop is adjacent to the bar. Enveloped by walls made with recycled bottles and constructed with driftwood it has a relaxed feel for easy browsing, a place where you can always discover something new.
The bags are funky and colourful adorned with original details e.g. spirals that are sewn on or decorative details added using semi precious gemstones, coconuts and shells. Each bag is custom made, striving to sustain individually and ‘one of a kind’ status. There is a range of bags, hip bags, customised recycled rice bags, belts and belt accessories on display, as well as handmade jewellery, oils, incense and original clothing.
Commissioning a speciality at Irie, creating practical items such as an I-pad case, camera equipment bag and backpack to the more unusual requests like a knife pocket and leather stockings. Open to helping customers and advising on design Irie Artwork make strong bags that make a statement and will get noticed.