Something for You & Something for the Planet

Brand Spotlight: Handmade Leather Shoes & Bags

Brand Spotlight: Handmade Leather Shoes & Bags

When you hear the word “Leather”, there’s a good chance that Italy comes to mind. What if we told you one of the leather capitals of the world is actually in North America. Located in the center of Mexico, just a little northeast of Mexico city, sits Leon, Guanajuato. Nestled between vast mountain ranges at 6,000+ feet above sea level, stands a city that is as tough and malleable as the leather it produces.

When you hear the word “Leather”, there’s a good chance that Italy comes to mind. What if we told you one of the leather capitals of the world is actually in North America. Located in the center of Mexico, just a little northeast of Mexico city, sits Leon, Guanajuato. Nestled between vast mountain ranges at 6,000+ feet above sea level, stands a city that is as tough and malleable as the leather it produces.

Mexico, Leon in particular, has a dense history of leather production and leather goods. This includes common leathers such as cow, bull, lamb but Leon definitely boasts a plethora of exotic offerings like crocodile, python, ostrich, stingray… the list goes on. Outside of the produce industry, leather is one of Mexico's major exports. Brands from all over the world travel to Leon to source leather and produce a superior product.

If you ever have the opportunity to visit Leon, you will undoubtedly smell the industry everywhere you go. The unexplainable pleasure we receive when opening a new leather bag or buying a car with exquisite leather interior, is what you will wash over you from the minute you step off the plane. Though leather can be used for many things, Leon is most commonly recognized for its shoes and bags. Two of our ziggie brand partners, 2120 Handcrafted and Bixi Awotan pride themselves on the production of Leon. It’s not just that manufacturing comes at a fair price, it’s the fact that true artisans with years of experience and regional expertise are crafting your product by hand. While it’s important that these facilities keep up-to-date on equipment, it’s equally determinant of success that “Handmade” stays at the forefront of Leon. Bixi Awotan is proudly a female-led Mexican business that focuses on tradition and timeless style. Their bags are an elegant twist of old-age sewing techniques and modern design. Bixi Awotan can be translated to “What does your heart say”, a common greeting between Mayans that has been used for over 3,000 years.

2120 Handcrafted, owned by Aram Vanerian, is a handmade footwear company steeped in the age-old saying “quality over quantity”. It’s widely accepted that hyper-consumerism in footwear has been detrimental to both our planet and developing countries human-rights. 2120 Handcrafted believes that you only need a core selection of multifunctional shoes to take you from day-to-night. These shoes should mold to your feet over time and generate a leather patina that is unique to your lifestyle. Aram, designer of 2120 Handcrafted, is a young Armenian-American who’s obsession with sneakers brought him to Mexico many years ago. It wasn’t just his spanish that improved, his entire outlook on footwear was changed(for the better of course). Leon, and the factory he works with, taught him what hard work and quality footwear look like. 2120 produces their leather footwear at a small expert-facility specializing in good-year welt construction. This is the process of stitching a leather strip to the rim of the upper and applying cork and a metal shank to the bottom of the shoe. The leather strip is intended to prevent tears and water damage in the leather and outsole. The shank and cork provide comfort, stability and durability to the owners foot. This entire process comes at a higher value and allows the shoe to be resoled. A typical pair of 2120’s could last 15+ years with proper leather care and resoling, think of the impact we could have on landfills if we began buying shoes that last longer than 1 season.

The importance of buying quality goods is steadily increasing as we head towards 2019, if you are looking to find the shoes or bag of your lifetime, #GOziggie. We are proud to carry Bixi Awotan and 2120 Handcrafted. They are proud to be #MadeInMexico. Vamos Leon!