A Closer Look: The Importance of Design

Design is what truly makes Beargrass Leather unique. Sam and I spend a lot of time together whether it be on trips, at our his & her leather work desks, and throughout the day. And one question that routinely pops up is “what makes our bags special?” The answer is design.

Design for us includes every aspect of our bags. It typically starts with a style of product and choice of leather. We spend a lot of time choosing leather. From there, many aesthetic qualities and details are chosen: lining, edge paints and colors, threads, hardware, and details. But this doesn’t quite cover the concept in its entirety.


This Silver Gate is a great example of our aesthetic qualities and design at work. While a tote, even in cowhair, is not completely a novel concept, you still know that it is a Beargrass design when you see it. Why is this? In short, it’s the design. Sam’s eye for neutral tones created the marriage of this soft-gray brindle hair and the warm-grey nubuck leather. It also allows our signature cross-stitch in grey thread to pop along the gussets. Even the touch of edge paint along the handle edges create the subtle contrast of a truly finished product.

Good design is honest
— Dieter Rams

On a long Montana drive this summer, I asked Sam if her products and my products still have matching designs. For example, does the Daily Messenger bag and Big Sky briefcase still match her Sadie and Artemis handbags? The answer is yes. While some designs are more rustic than others, that mostly depends on the choice of leather. Plus, even our more polished designs have a rustic elegance (which is our motto).

Rustic Elegance: the ability to elevate organic materials to a sophisticated level without losing its natural wonder. We strive to design elegant/modern/simple styles of leather goods then we let our techniques and leathers provide the levels of rustic appeal.

It’s a worthy business model to make leather goods, but it’s the artistic endeavor which drives us to create. Far from forming a few model patterns and hitting the repeat button, we strive to ‘speak’ to the customer the way an artist does. When we construct a handbag, we want the wearer to know they are carrying a one-of-a-kind piece. Part of our M.O. is to learn. We are constantly tinkering and trying new things. Exercising this continual curiosity forces us to learn new skills. New leathers, styles, and techniques which push our design in all sorts of directions yet clearly maintain a sophisticated modern appeal.

The value of our brand is our talent for design. Our collective vision and shared aesthetic creates a product that draws few comparisons.