Margaux Jane, French designer of leather bags and small leather goods
From as far as I can remember I’ve always been drawn to anything crafty. After my baccalauréat, I studied applied arts, before getting into leather work. I was trained in the trade of leather work by a world famous luxury French brand. The discovery of this craftsmanship was a real revelation. After working for this brand, making bags with famous names, I decided to move to England and follow the footsteps of my great grandmother. She worked in the leather industry in Walsall, home of the leather industry in England, in the manufacture of hand-stitched leather gloves. I worked there as an assistant designer, developing new products from customers drawings. When I moved back to France, I decided to start my own business in order to combine my creativity and the traditional leather work skills.
Traditional skills serving creativity
All Margaux Jane products are made using traditional skills that are unfortunately lost today in favour of mass production. My ambition is to give a soul to my work. Every object is the result of many hours of work, from imagining the product to choosing the hides, cutting all the pieces by hand and of course hand-stitching. I manufacture all my leather goods from the beginning right to the end. All my products are made using genuine leather and also have a leather lining. To provide high quality work leather edges are finished to make them more attractive using edge kote, but also very durable by heating the dye, sanding between different coats, and the application of beeswax.
This ensures the durability of the bag throughout the years with incredibly strong stitching. It is done using a linen thread waxed using beeswax, with one needle on each end of the thread. Hand-stitching is a lot more time consuming because it requires different steps. First of all the preparation, with a pricking iron I mark where every stitch in going to be. Once stitching, with an awl I will wear through each mark previously made. I will then pass through both needles, one from the top and one from underneath, tighten the thread, and go on to the next stitch. This technique takes a lot more time than machine stitching, but the quality is absolutely unmatched.
The edge finish
This step is done after stitching. Once the edges are levelled by sanding, the excess of glue is removed using a hot iron, this also brings the leather fibres together and marks a nice line to bring out the stitching. Edge kote is applied and heated using a different hot iron once dry. This step allows the dye to penetrate the fibres and give a round movement to the edge. I lightly sand the heated dye to remove any remanants of glue and to smooth the edge. I put another layer of edge kote, and so on until the edge is really nice and smooth. The last step is to gently rub beeswax.
I cut each piece of the bag by hand using a round knife or a leather cutting knife.
The first collection
For this first collection I was inspired by England, because it is part of my origins. As a matter of fact, the different names of my products mainly refer to my origins. From my great-grandmother who worked in Walsall (nearly in the same street) in the leather industry 60 years before me, as well as special people with whom I have shared a lot. All bags have been designed to adapt to different situations: a walk in the city, a party, a country walk or going to work. The sleeves are made to measure for various Apple products.