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This Way Forward: Meet OROTON’s Latest Recycled Leather Collection

This month, OROTON introduces its latest sustainable collections – Zoey, Lane and Audun – three standout capsule ranges that comprise joyful mini accessories and heritage tributes, including everything fromwater bottle holders with crossbody straps through to signature beauty cases and pet collars with matching leads. Crafted from recycled leather, the result is a clever assortment of unique Christmas gifts that are both special, surprising – and kind to the environment.

How exactly does one go about turning the offcuts from gardening gloves into a chic proposition? And is recycled leather really as buttery soft to touch, or as durable, as the original? According to Pia Wessels, a senior accessories designer at OROTON, this innovation in recycled materials marks an exciting turning point for the brand: its commitment to the environment and sustainability is propelling the company forward, a mission that is also fuelling the design team.

That said, the production process is not without its frustrations, trialling of a new-generation material is cautiously slow and rigorous: shapes are sketched out to best suit the leather’s properties, materials are colour-tested, sampled and then “wear-tested” by the team. The process takes around two years. “There is a lot of trialling that goes into these materials at every stage, we’re looking at environmental impact, durability, dye options; a recycled leather needs to measure up to our high-quality standards. We then wear-test everything, we study a bag’s performance, its shape, how the material works from one day to the next. Everything needs to deliver.”

Indeed, the new Zoey collection includes a vibrant line-up of practical yet joyful accessories – everything from water bottle holders with crossbody straps through to structured beauty cases, AirPod holders and pet collars with matching leads, all crafted from beautifully soft, recycled environmental leathers in shades of Grass Green, Brandy, Black and White.

Then there’s the house’s heritage and iconography to take in – the design team also had to consider how a new material best serves as a canvas to the house’s signature artisanal techniques. The Lane collection, named after the company founder and stamped with an outsized logo in bold hardware, sets the tone: Wessels says it was important to consider the recycled leathers usage: “The Lane collection works with a smooth material, which really allowed us to showcase our heritage and craftsmanship by way of clean, minimal shapes and beautiful top-stitching, whereas the Zoey leather leans itself to wonderful colourways and more structured shapes.”

Also in the mix, the Audun line comprising sustainable canvas with smooth leather trim in versatile styles including beauty cases, roomy totes and drawstring bags, the latter a nod to traditional horse-feeding bags. The three directional collections are at once practical and covetable, a playful salute to the holiday season.

When asked what her hopes for fashion’s future are, Wessels is optimistic: “I love that as a company we are striving to be as innovative and forward-thinking as possible, particularly when it comes to sustainability and environmental causes – we are looking at every link in the chain and committed to constantly improving on what we do. There is always that desire to push and innovate, to be gentler to the earth, to have less impact rather than creating products for the sake of it. It is also very much about collectively educating ourselves to become more consciously aware of investing in timeless fashion, buying pieces that will endure. I think everyone here is equally passionate about every aspect of sustainability, which is inspiring all round.”

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