CHENNAI: The January Leathers is going one step beyond the staples in leather bags. We’re accustomed to think of brown or black when it comes to the choice of colours for leather goodies. But Swati Chandrasekhar, founder of this homegrown label, has redefined the palette. She has also worked with new types and forms of leather that are freshly sourced and manufactured into products.
“Leather is majorly considered an export material. It’s a common practice to use scrapes of used and leftover leathers for local products while the best ones are sent abroad. I’m strictly against it. Our leather comes from Ranipet, Kolkata and sometimes even Italy. A leather fair is organised around February, and we get exposed to many types at the event. We work with four varieties of leather at present and foil leather is one of them. The process happens at green tanneries where the effluent is recycled and reused,” said Swati who is an engineering graduate from Anna University.
Swati, who was earlier taking care of family business, heads a team of six and works out of a studio at Guindy. The January Studios started a year back. The brand offers totes, handbags, doctor bags, wallets and slings. They come in colours like powder green, fuchsia, dark navy, antic copper, maroon and metallic gold and silver. “Doctor bags sell well in Chennai and Bengaluru. Slings are popular in the north. I feel that indie brands offer style, sensibility and price points to play with. People might be brand conscious but they always support homegrown brands. I want to offer premium leather at affordable prices,” she said.
The brand manufactures bags based on demand. Each artisan can work on a maximum of one bag per day. Their latest project is to incorporate technology into leather. One of their products Lumiere tote has a light, which is placed inside a small box and covered with a pouch. One can turn the switch on to light up the bag. This is useful especially when there are not many enclosures and the lining inside is black. The light has rechargeable battery.
“We’re working on getting a USB charger inside the bag. Nothing can beat leather when it comes to bags. The material is long-lasting. I’m not confident about vegan leather and it’s sustainability aspect. It’s more like PVC leather, and we also end up paying a bomb. It’s my ambition to redefine the leather market and introduce more options,” said Swati.
The January Leathers ships globally and has a set of patrons abroad. Customisation is possible. Delivery takes a day or two depending on the model and number of bags ordered.