leather artisans

Newsflash: Well-crafted leather accessories made by Singaporean artisans are right in our backyard. While the number of leather-crafting brands in the trade may be few due to the required skills and higher costs of materials, that doesn’t mean there aren’t specialists in Singapore creating covetable wares. In the following, we chat with three young leathersmiths about their craft and the scene.


GUISED

leather artisans
Credit:Guised

Samuel Yew of Guised

Who’s behind it: Samuel Yew, 19, runs the brand while completing his final year in Temasek Polytechnic’s business diploma. That said, Yew admits that upon completing school, he’s looking to pursue the craft full-time.

What you can expect: While Yew started leather crafting at the end of 2022, Guise was established in January 2024 as a proper outlet for his creative explorations. “I thought it was time to stop procrastinating and work towards my dreams,” Yew says. “I’m so passionate about this that it’s something I’m willing to devote my life to.”

leather artisans
Credit:Guised

Using black horse culatta leather is the M.O. for Guised.

Guise’s product line features a range of accessory types – from wallets and belts to key holders. Each one is handcrafted in sleek black horse culatta leather. “We’ve been experimenting with some intriguing materials. Culatta is the leather from the hind section of the horse, and this leather is distinguished by its natural grain irregularity and is renowned for its strength, comfort, and distinctive character,” he explains. Yew also cites Isamu Katayama and Alexander McQueen as design inspiration points.

The definitive piece from Guise would be the best-selling Soot Belt, which Yew tells us, “It was the first piece that garnered widespread appreciation from a bigger audience, reaffirming my passion and showcasing the potential for success with Guise.”

Available at M.ilieu, 45 Jalan Pemimpin, #09-01; DM @___guised on Instagram for enquiries


DEVIL’S PLAY CRAFT

leather artisans
Credit:Devil’s Play Craft

Lim Ting Yang of Devil’s Play Craft

Who’s behind it: Lim Ting Yang – or Yang, for short – runs Devil’s Play Craft full-time. Inspired by his love for Americana culture, the 27-year-old began tinkering with leathermaking during his stint in NS as a hobby. The brand came to fruition in 2019, and over time, he has found inspiration through various subcultures, resulting in what Devil’s Play Craft carries today.

leather artisans
Credit:Devil’s Play Craft

Punk, Gothic, and biker influences all meld together in Devil’s Play Craft designs.

What you can expect: Yang cites that his creations are a nod to things that he loves, such as “the raw energy, edginess, and mystique of punk, the rebellious spirit of bikers, the dark allure of gothic aesthetics, and the ancient tribal traditions”. Think key pouches adorned with metal studs, cowboy belt buckles strapped over oversized tote bags, and asymmetric leather bustier tops.

Yang’s work as a leathermaker comes with its own challenges. He admits that “in a society emphasising economic growth, artists naturally face struggles. However, within these challenges, artistic markets become niche, offering the potential to be recognised as unique. We continue to strive for appreciation, and in my view, challenges are not something we overcome, but rather something we strive to overcome.”

As for the most significant thing he’s made so far? The Punkin Bag – a riff on the recognisable Birkin. “Wholly redesigning something from major brands hopefully conveys a message to everyone that we can do what the big brands do in our own ways—the devils’ way,” Yang says.

#04-12 Peninsula Shopping Centre; visit www.devilsplaycraft.com for more information


THE ROLLERS PARLOUR

leather artisans
Credit:The Rollers Parlour

Delvin Teo of The Rollers Parlour

Who’s behind it: Started by Delvin Teo – a member of the local design collective Youths in Balaclava – in 2018, The Rollers Parlour has been an outlet for Teo’s creativity in leathermaking for the past six years. “I’ve always wanted to start a brand of my own since I was a kid,” Teo, 27, tells us. “I think there’s a lot going on in my mind that I want to share with the world.”

He cites “the small market we have here and the high cost of materials” as his biggest challenge, but having said that, he also nods to the growing leather-making scene in Singapore. “I think it’s getting better. More people are exposed to the craft and are interested in it. It’s also good to see the younger generation putting in effort to learn and understand the craft,” Teo notes.

leather artisans
Credit:The Rollers Parlour

Expect unusual material combinations with leather at The Rollers Parlour.

What you can expect: The Rollers Parlour offers up Teo’s vision of Americana design and culture. Wallets, crossbody bags, even sandals are all part of the product mix, and you’d expect to find details such as beads, fringe, and feathers cut from leather in many of the products. Teo is also venturing into denim work – look for an initial release of selvedge denim jackets and drawstring pouches. “Denim and leather have always been in my blood, and I’m working towards a proper launch sometime this year,” he says.

DM @therollersparlour on Instagram for enquiries