OTC x Frank Clegg: Bespoke Leather Goods

When we first sat down with master leather craftsman Frank Clegg to discuss the idea of creating a leather goods collection, it was an idea not fully formed.  Our thought was to start with some basics, but to interpret them in a more luxurious way while still keeping practicality and function front and center.

After tossing around some options, we settled on an iPad case; one that could easily fit into a briefcase or be carried alone, have a classic design, and be right at home in the boardroom.  What we didn’t want was something flashy and overdone, just a little elegance to balance out its utilitarian nature. Frank suggested we modify his iPad case using a different leather and a touch of  alligator for the slip-in tab.

He also suggested we pair the OTC iPad case with a matching alligator iPhone sleeve. iPads and iPhones are common tools that require some degree of protection, and for those who prefer to keep their technology open and un-encased, the options are at times uninspired. The idea was to create a practical ensemble that would make sense for every day use.

So, how did they turn out? Beautifully.

There is a masculine, classic quality to both OTC x Frank Clegg pieces that speaks of a refined elegance made practical.  These are simple designs, which are often the most difficult to execute due to the obviousness of any defect.

The iPad case’s wax-infused harness belting leather is dense and sturdy, but also soft and incredibly pliable.  The unique alligator tab adds just the right amount of show but is well-balanced by the case’s body. Flashy this is not.  The stitching, construction, and attention to detail are all exacting.

The iPhone sleeve is an unexpected favorite.  The exterior is constructed entirely of book matched alligator and lined in the same wax-infused harness belting leather, but here almost paper thin. The phone easily slips in and out yet remains snugly in place when inside.  It’s inherent elegance is in fact a foil to the iPad case’s reserve.

With the iPhone sleeve we have a true luxury item; one that could, as alligator often does, scream, “notice me!”  Instead, because of its size and simplicity, it’s more of a discreet, “yes, I’m handmade.”  As you might suspect, we here at OTC are not ones to typically anthropomorphize things  They are simply that good.

Frank did a superb job and created luxurious accessories that have been used every day since the box arrived from Fall River, Ma.  They regularly garner stares and comments, compliments and questions – mostly, “where did you get those?”

A true artisan, Frank Clegg is not new to this business and you can read more about him and his background in an earlier OTC article.

His expansive skill set and perpetual design aesthetic means that he can customize almost any of his existing designs and create whole-cloth new collections with little difficulty.  It is a natural passion.  Prefer green signature tumbled leather over chestnut belting harness? No problem.  Need a shoulder strap with a 13 inch drop instead of 15 inch?  They can do that.

Want a set just like OTC’s?  Just give him a call – and more than likely, he’ll be the one to answer the phone.  But be quick, this is a very limited edition run.

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