Forged from generations of American manufacturing, brothers Joe and Rick Lotuff founded their eponymous leather goods brand with hopes of creating the best product possible from the rarest of materials mixed with classical designs. Maintaining their production facilities right on the Connecticut coast, the Lotuff family is able to intimately oversee each step of the process to ensure the longevity and quality of their creations, from small pouches and wallets to tote bags and rucksack backpacks. The Lotuff brand stands behind its line of American-made goods so much that it guarantees each item against any defect for as long as one owns it.
For its 2014 spring/summer lookbook, the New England label collaborated with photographer duo Miles & Miles as well as New York retailer Barneys to capture the essence of its offerings against the stark, beautiful and untouched countryside of Marfa, Texas. With the above range currently available through its webstore, Lotuff co-founder Joe Lotuff and Creative Director Lindy McDonough sat down with Barneys to talk about the importance of American manufacturing, sourcing their materials, inspirations and more. Check out an excerpt from the interview below and click here to read the full editorial.
Tell us why manufacturing in America is so important to you.
Joe Lotuff: Manufacturing here is incredibly important and personal to me. Learning a craft, from leatherwork to boatbuilding to plumbing, is a path to a satisfying and fulfilling life. We really delight in teaching others how to thrive by empowering them to do the best they can by taking the time needed for perfection.
As we grow, our team of craftspeople has evolved into a really interesting blend. Those with decades of experiencing mastering the craft now work shoulder to shoulder with younger folks eager to learn the skills and work with their hands. It gives us hope that handcrafted goods is not a dying industry. In fact, it is worthwhile and sustainable enough to continue on for years.
Tell us about the challenges and rewards of employing and training highly skilled workers to make your products.
JL: The challenge turns into a reward as we realize the benefits that come from employing highly skilled craftspeople. We’re proud of every piece we make because we know it has been made the very best way it can be. There is also a rare intimacy that comes when we work closely with our team. We see every step up close and in person—from the cutting to the sewing to the polishing to the finishing. We know and approve each piece that leaves the workshop. Our ability to individually number each piece we make is a testament to our small-run, highly personal crafting process. And any Lotuff bag that you get from Barneys has a guarantee against material and workmanship defect for the life of the original owner.