Katy Warriner’s covetable bags and other leather items are lovingly handmade in her Devon workshop. She uses only vegetable-tanned, British bovine leather, supplied by the UK’s last surviving traditional oak-bark tannery, J.&F.J. Baker, just 25 miles away in Colyton. Leather that is slowly tanned in this way using responsibly-sourced British oak bark, produces gorgeous earthy tones that allow the natural features of the leather to shine through. When you buy from Warriner Leather Works you’re investing in a high-quality product that not only lasts a lifetime but becomes more beautiful with age; it’s the very epitome of slow fashion.
Pictured: Katy Warriner
HER STYLE COMBINES CLASSIC SADDLERY TECHNIQUES WITH A MODERN TWIST
Katy Warriner is fastidious about understanding where every item she uses in the making process comes from. Be that the leather itself – which comes from local grass-fed cattle – the flax used in her waxed linen thread, or the brass or sterling silver buckles in her belts and dog collars. She is hugely respectful of the materials that she uses in the making of her items; transparency and responsibility are bywords to her approach.
Katy founded Warriner Leather Works in 2016 after a twelve-year career directing creative teams behind some of the UK’s best-known festivals and a stint set-dressing film sets. That was preceded by studies in marine science and environmental law and several years spent living in Mexico and Central America.
But the haunting vision of Liv Tyler on a white horse in Lord of the Rings and her own passion for riding and its beautiful accompanying leather saddlery was a constant in her life. So much so that she decided leather was to be her destiny and took herself off to train in leather-making. Katy describes it as an awakening, an immediate realisation that she’d found what she wanted to spend the rest of her life doing.
Her style combines classic saddlery techniques with a modern twist – hints of her years organising festivals can be seen in some of her more informal designs including the Fernworthy Tote, the Vixen Tor Handbag and the Buckland Belt. Her bags blend categories – a satchel borrows design cues from the messenger bag and vice versa. The practical Foragers Gardening Trug happily doubles up to carry everything needed for a picnic. Her meticulous hand-stitching is strong and practical as well as beautifully decorative; echoes of her love of saddlery born as a child learning to ride are never far away.
WHEN YOU BUY FROM WARRINER LEATHER WORKS YOU’RE INVESTING IN A HIGH-QUALITY PRODUCT THAT LASTS A LIFETIME BUT BECOMES MORE BEAUTIFUL WITH AGE
Katy Warriner believes in living gently, making as small an impact on the world as she can. She believes the pandemic has changed the way people feel about consumption and she sees a movement building that recognises the importance of growing and making locally. With this comes a resurgence in traditional crafts and slow making, a rediscovery of our collective heritage, looking backwards so that we can create a better, more responsible future. She is playing her part by educating, sharing her research into leather traceability, working with farmers to correct the disconnect between fashion and farming.
Buying from Warriner Leather Works is a wonderful, personal experience. Whether buying ‘off the shelf’ or discussing a bespoke item, you’ll have an inspiring encounter with one the UK’s most passionate leather makers.