Chanelle the creator behind Studio Nelle found her love of leather after setting up a community workshop which offered those affected by mental health an outlet for recovery without being labelled. Whilst running these sessions, she was donated a pile of cow hides that had been discarded from the fashion industry. Chanelle would teach herself simple leather craft skills to transform the luxury hides of leather into fun, and highly desirable leather craft workshop. Participants would enjoy making items such as small wallets, purses and phone covers.
Through further research, Chanelle discovered that the leather industry was typically throwing away a minimum of 35% of the leather that was being purchased for their large production lines. Eliminating full leather skins due to pimples, scarring, stretching, dye errors etc. Chanelle started to make contact with leather merchants and design houses to reclaim these leathers before they discarded the leather to landfill.
In 2016, Chanelle set up shop at her local craft market selling small leather bags, purses and wallets, inspired by the rituals, philosophies and heritage of her black culture. Chanelle uses prints and motifs which are either debossed or laser etched to decorate leather in a unique and special way, adding a new dimension to the story that the leather tells.
Studio Nelle operates out of a community co-working space in Makerversity in Somerset House. Here, Chanelle has access to machines such as a laser cutter which she uses to cut templates for cutting leather and make stamps for embossing the leather. Not to mention utilising the space to assemble her products.
To create a Studio Nelle purse or wallet, she takes her idea and transfers it to CAD design drawing. This allows her to create an acrylic template to use when carving out the leather sections. To assemble each product Chanelle uses an age-old traditional stitch using two needles and a strong polyester waxed thread called the “saddle stitch”. Arguably the strongest stitch available, to ensure each product lasts a lifetime.