Clothing and Accessories Leather

Louenhide Bags

Vegan Leather and Louenhide

Vegan leather is an alternative material to leather. It is made of polyurethane, a synthetic material. Polyurethane(PU) has a lower environmental impact and does not use harmful chemicals as compared to another more common synthetic material, Polyvinyl Chloride(PVC).
At the Shop For All Reasons we have recently introduced Louenhide, a company from Australia that designs stunning purses and wallets that are all made of vegan leather. The material used is a synthetic material, 100 percent polyurethane, which is more resistant to scuffs, stretching and fading. The term leather refers to the fact that they are soft “like leather” and soften with age “like leather”.
Louenhide was created in 2006, by the “design duo” Lou Kendall and Heide Bailey from Brisbane Australia. Combining their names Lou and Heide, they created the new boutique label Louenhide, and “emerged as a favourite accessories brand, helping shape the style of different women of all ages and budgets”. – Alena Kirby
The purses are designed to be contemporary and classic with great attention to detailing in the hardware and interiors. Vegan leather bags feel like natural leather and are lightweight. Offering of a stunning palette each season captured our attention and is reflective of the growing trend for colour in fashion accessories. This fall and winter season’s are stunning.
Caring for vegan leather is an easy process. Wiping it down after a light surface spray of warm water or soapy water with a soft cloth, allows this material to stay clean and soft. Avoid leaving the bags in direct sun, like real leather, as this may crack and dry them out. Store your bags in a cool, dry place and just
as you care for your other bags, store your Louenhide with a dust cover or pillowcase to keep them dust free.

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Our products made with polyurethane (PU) are easy to maintain and will last just as long as genuine leather if you take special care. Fortunately, PU is more resistant to scuffing/marking and has less chance of stretching/fading over time
Please consider the following steps when caring for your LOUENHIDE PU product:
• Avoid hanging your bag by their straps when storing
• Waterproof before use with a good-quality protector
• Wipe down the material with a damp cloth when required
• Leather cleaners and conditioners are recommended for maintenance
• If using alcohol based products, be sure to test a small spot of the material before applying to entire product.
• Store in a cool, dry place where air can circulate and your product is away from direct sunlight
• Air your bag every couple of weeks to limit the chance of mold, or if need to remove unwanted smells leave a sachet of coffee beans overnight
• If your product gets really wet, remove any residual water immediately with a paper towel and allow it to dry naturally.

Why buy vegan leather or pleather instead of real leather? Aside from the ethical arguments, which you may or may not agree with, Louenhide allows you to acquire a selection of attractive bags to compliment every season. Whether for travelling, everyday use or looking for a dressy bag, Louenhide has many options and is budget friendly. The leather look is always impressive, and the wear characteristics of these bags means you will get a great deal of use from your collection.

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Clothing and Accessories

Jean-Louis Mireault Silk Art Scarves

Canadian Silk Painter Jean-Louis Mireault

Mireault – hand painted silk artist.

The ancient method of silk making began sometime between 3500 and 2000 BC with the use of silkworm moth cocoons to produce cloth. It is believed that the ancient technique of painting on silk began in around 470 BC during the Neolithic period by the Hans dynasty who used it for recording on scrolls. It remained as an art in China for approximately a thousand years, until the later part of the first millennium BC when the Silk Road was opened, spreading the skills to other lands. This artistic expression later developed to include mythical creatures and human forms on silk.
Around 300 AD the art of silk painting travelled to Japan. During the crusades, in the 1200s, silk production began to spread to many states in Italy. By the Middle Ages changes in the way it was manufactured, with the invention of the spinning wheel, allowed silk production to extend to other areas in Western Europe. Later in the 1300s, artists began using colour on silk. By the 1800s the beginning of the industrial revolution made silk available to many parts of the world.
From this long history around the world, artists have brought the skill of silk painting to Canada as they settled here from other countries. This has led to a flourishing community of painters across Canada, lending their own interpretations to the designs they create. At The Shop, we have presented several works from Canadian artists over the years. One of our long-term suppliers has been Jean-Louis Mireault from Verchères, Quebec.
Mireault silk scarves
Hand painted silk scarves, Canadian artist Mireault

In 1978, Jean-Louis Mireault began painting on silk. His wife was his early teacher who insisted that he create from his own images and artistic talent. The process has not changed over the years. Perfected in France the technique was referred to as ‘Serti’ or ‘gutta resist’. All lines in the chosen drawings are still drawn on paper and then this paper is placed under the silk and copied with a pencil overtop of the silk. Using brushes, the artist places the French silk dyes to create the beautiful colours. The pencil marks fade within a day and what is left is art. The process does not stop here. Though silk is the strongest natural fibre for its weight, even stronger than steel, the painted silk gains durability by leaving it in a professional steamer for approximately four hours. Then it is washed, ironed and stretched on a wooden frame to create silk paintings.
Mireault also uses the process of ‘batik’ to create beautifully coloured shapes that adorn his silk scarves. This is a wax-resist dyeing technique that is applied to the entire piece of silk. A technique that originated in Indonesia.
Silk scarves, Mireault
Another selection of the colours of Mireault scarves available

In 2002, Mireault was honoured with a medal for his significant artistic contribution in Canada which was presented to him by Queen Elizabeth II on her Golden Jubilee Year visit.
Mireault has participated in many art exhibits in France, Portugal, Spain, U.S.A. and Tunisia. He was recognized in 2011 by SPIN (Silk Painters International) as a Master Silk Painter. A great honour for the artist who has been creating art for over forty years.
As one of our silk artists in The Shop For All Reasons, Mireault’s beautiful scarves and wraps are well recognized and appreciated as beautiful wearable art.

Clothing and Accessories Leather

Brave Leather

BRAVE LEATHER “Born of Canadian creativity and touched by Canadian hands”
Toronto has gone through many transformations over its history. Districts have flourished then floundered, the culture in areas has moved, shifting the character of the streets. Industries have left, leaving their structures to be re purposed, creating a different resident with the same visual streetscape. The Distillery, with its boutique retail and trendy bars stands as an example of industrial use becoming a tourist destination. Spadina Avenue and Queen Street once was the Toronto, if not the Canadian heart of the fashion industry. Women’s clothing, furs, suits – all produced in local sweat shops in an area whose buildings have now transformed into the Entertainment District.

It was in this time of transformation, 1992, that a young Scott Irvine, recently the first university graduate from his family, gave up his academic future to create leather belts and sell them from a Spadina Avenue street stand. As fashion factory after fashion company closed their doors for good in Canada, Scott’s business bucked the trend and continued to grow. Now, twenty seven years later, his Brave Leather still manufactures leather belts, bags and other goods well north of Spadina and Queen, but still within Toronto.

Women's belt selection
Distinct styles of women’s belts

Scott’s company has grown over this time. The recognition Brave Leather receives is due not only to the top-notch quality of the products, but also in the ethical practices used throughout the operation. From environmental considerations to leather sourcing to employee benefits, one of the main considerations has always been not to compromise the company’s original vision. BRAVE Leather is fine leather goods ethically designed and exclusively manufactured in Canada. With two million individual items produced and sold across fourteen countries, Scott and his team of skilled craftspeople have proven to be one of the best in creating beautiful and original leather products.
Many employees have been there for years, some going back to the beginning. Each is a skilled practitioner of their art, proudly ensuring that the quality of the products is maintained as well as demonstrating their innovative talent using vintage hand tools as well as modern techniques such as digital laser cutting machinery. BRAVE Leather was the first belt factory in North America to use this technology.
Leather weekend bag
Full grain leather weekend bag.

The leather used is sourced from the food industry. Scott is proud of the fact that the leather does not come from animals killed for their skin, but instead ensures the whole of the animal is used and material is not sent to land fill. Even the remnants from production are used for tags and pouches.
BRAVE Leather uses 100% vegetable tanning, an ancient process that is free of toxic chemicals and is ecologically friendly using natural materials derived from plants and trees. Water-based adhesives are also used in production. Though this is a substantially slower process – the environmental benefits and the beautiful patina that is created in the leather is well worth the extra time and cost.
Hair on handbags
Finishes include hair on leather

“BRAVES philosophy has always been to create beautiful original products in the best way”. No inventory is stocked at the workshop. All pieces are created when they are ordered.
The Shop has partnered with Brave Leather since 2016. You will find a selection of men’s and ladies’ belts, bags, jewellery and wallets. They fit in well with our aim of providing Canadian products of the upmost quality.

Clothing and Accessories Leather

Laparelle Leather Handbags

New to the Shop are LAPARELLE handbags. Using Italian Top Grain leather, these handbags are beautifully made by hand in Toronto by two sisters both designers in fashion and architecture. They are “fresh and elegantly constructed” and, by featuring contrasting colours of the outer and inner leathers, are easily reversible for a new look.

There are three very current styles:

“The Reversible Shell” is a top handled tote bag with a contrasting interior and signature hardware details. The Shell Style is presently available in two sizes, medium and mini. The hardware is also available in a variety of finishes. This tote was their first design to start the company and is “truly a showstopper”.

“The Oyster” is a reversible clutch bag with its custom hardware and chain. The chain can be tucked inside or worn as a shoulder strap. Made in three sizes and with several finishes available for the hardware, this bag is very chic for day or evening.

“The Envelope Clutch” is a classic understated beauty that is detailed with their signature closure and is reversible as well. Properly proportioned to fit smartly in the hand or under your arm.

LAPARALLE handbags are all about COLOUR. Luxurious and supple top grain Italian leather are available in a range of colours or can be ordered from the swatches displayed in The Shop.
Come into The Shop and choose your bag for the season. So many gorgeous styles and colours that will truly create the perfect fashion pairing.