Problem solving as a passion

Ars Arpel Design Schools Expertise Milan Leather Makers pattern making Veg tanned leather

From a design idea to its realisation: handbags problem solving

Steven Harkin doesn't like to say "no". His father always told him he could do anything. No wonder then, that he has become an expert in solving problems related to the making of handbags. 

It probably started with fixing cars and building furniture before he discovered leather and his love for it.

Last week, we were visiting his old friend from school on Lake McQuarrie: they still have Steven Harkin's very first bag, which he made for their eldest son who is now over 40! Look at that: a real childhood trophy!

Steven Harkin First Bag

The week before, someone else from his past, the gorgeous Lynda, brought her Steven Harkin collection: moulded and painted leather bags that are like sculptures and really show his amazing skills. Personally, Norman is really not my cup of tea but I had to admire the work, even the denim bit: it is natural colour leather that Steve painted patiently to make it look like real jeans fabric. I had to touch it to believe it! Norman was made over 30 years ago and it's still in excellent shape. He hasn't lost a pound and very little sun tan. 

Vegetable tanned leather sculpted bag

 

I met Steve when he was a student at Ars Sutoria, one of the most prestigious shoe and bag design schools in the world, located in Milan, Italy. There, he refined his art further, attending a pattern making course. 

His creations were then much more contemporary and he was experimenting with many different materials, such as aluminium and formica, not just leather.

Ars Arpel Steven Harkin

 

His reputation and skills have led to him being approached by people like Roksanda, Delvaux and recently Dragana Perisic ... all looking for an outstanding pattern maker able to also create a prototype, a magician who can actually make their design a real product. 

 

Dragana Perisic bags

 

"Most of the time, stylists have no idea how their drawing can be transformed into a leather object. They need someone who can understand both design and construction, from drawing to prototype."   He has worked with brands like my country's prestigious Maison Delvaux in Brussels. 

Ars Sutoria school recently recommended him to British designer Sophie Hulme... (to be continued).  


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