Best Of The West 2012: Will Leather Goods
Sales of the expertly crafted bags support fair trade and eco-conscious principles.
Courtesy Will Leather Goods
The first thing we noticed about Will Leather Goods’ totes and handbags were the vibrant colors and Navajo-inspired textiles. The second thing we noticed was the expert leather craftsmanship.
What we didn’t realize until after we had fallen hard for the diverse designs was that they are produced by craftspeople in California, Colorado, Texas, New York, and the company’s home state of Oregon. Even better? The bags, which are carried by such illustrious stores as Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue, Barney’s New York, and Nordstrom, support fair trade and eco-conscious principles.
With such a purposeful mission, it may come as somewhat of a surprise that the company itself was the result of a dream deferred. The founder, William Adler, had hoped for Hollywood stardom, but an actor’s strike in 1981 forced him to take a day job selling belts from a stand on the Venice Beach boardwalk to pay the bills. He ended up starting his own belt business before relocating to Eugene, Oregon, where Will Leather Goods — and a new design star — was born. (Oaxacan duffle shown, $495.) www.willleathergoods.com