As happens with so many designers, Raleigh accessories maker Derek Keller’s line of leather goods was born of necessity.
Unable to find a pair of leather suspenders to suit his taste, Keller decided to make his own. The suspenders led to wallets, iPhone cases and other vintage-inspired leather items. Eventually, a few projects turned into a business – 440 Gentleman Supply.
Though a marketer by trade, Keller’s roots in fashion trace back to his childhood.
“My dad used to make leather belts when I was young, and I have fond memories of using his tools – in all the wrong ways – when he was not around,” he says.
Keller uses some of those same tools and techniques to create his handmade leather pieces.
“The best way I can describe the process would be somewhere in between sewing and woodworking,” he says. “I combine the same skills used to stitch fabric with the measuring and cutting reminiscent of carpentry. Each piece is made by hand from start to finish, so it is a very laborious process.”
But the work is worth it to Keller, who wants each of his pieces to have a one-of-a-kind look and feel.
“Leather, by nature, is inconsistent – with different color variations, wears and grains. I feel the imperfections give each item character and I don’t want two pieces to look identical. Hand cutting, punching, stitching and finishing helps match the making process to the material.”
The line is available online at 440gentlemansupply.com and at Anvil in Raleigh.
Keller has plans for expanding into clothing later this year, starting with logo tees and growing into other menswear pieces.
A little girl power
Peachy Keen boutique in Cary celebrates women this weekend with its Girls Run the World Party 3-6 p.m. Saturday. The event will feature clothing, accessories and more from socially conscious brands fashionABLE, Global Goods Partners and local labels Symbology and Jill’s Jewels. Refreshments and hors d’oeuvres will be served, and a portion of proceeds will benefit Girls on the Run of the Triangle, which works to inspire girls in grades three through eight to be leaders. For more info, call 919-678-0092, thepeachykeen.com.
This week in the trunk...
This week’s trunk show lineup sparkles with several jewelry shows.
• Saks Fifth Avenue in Triangle Town Center welcomes representatives from David Yurman, who will bring new looks with colorful gemstones set in textured metals for a trunk show 10 a.m.-5 p.m. on May 9. For more info, call 919-792-9100, ext. 5318.
• Bailey’s Fine Jewelry in Cameron Village will have new pieces from designer John Hardy for a trunk show Saturday. Bailey’s is at 415 Daniels St., Raleigh, 919-829-7337, baileybox.com.
Endivo Hair Gallery celebrates its move to Durham’s Northgate Mall with a grand opening celebration 9 a.m. Saturday. The new location will have more space to offer color, styling and other services to the multi-ethnic clientele. During the celebration, the salon will have refreshments and music. For more information, call 919-401-4078 or visit endivohair.com.
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