THE INSIDE SKINNY ON... Gale & Hayes!

Gale & Hayes, founded by Kim Nowers in January 2018, is a handmade goods brand that prides itself on artisan skill and craftsmanship. Kim’s mission is to design and create products that are one-of-a-kind, innovative in design, and driven by high quality standards. All of Gale & Hayes’ products are hand-crafted from fine leather and premium materials, and highlight the beauty of minor imperfections. 

Below we interview the owner, artist, and designer about her brand…

When and why did you start Gale & Hayes? 

 

I had been making bags for over three years as gifts for friends, and then more and more people began noticing and wanting them. After working in corporate fashion design for several years, I started Gale & Hayes this past January.

What is your background?

My background is in fashion design and I studied at Massachusetts College of Art and Design in Boston. I am in my happy place when I am creating.

What is special and unique about your products? 

Every product we make is an individual piece like no other. We take time to place the leather and make each bag aesthetically beautiful to the eye. Leather has natural marks and cowhide, especially, has patterns. We hand lay the patterns to optimize the hide, as well as showcase the pattern. This makes each bag one-of-a-kind.

Where is Gale & Hayes currently based?

Newburyport, Massachusetts!

Where do you currently sell?

We currently sell through our website and at seasonal markets. Follow @gale_and_hayes on Instagram to keep up with where you can find us!

Sustainability is an important part of your business. Can you tell us about your practices?

We know exactly where our materials come from, and are currently starting to work with local small farms in New England who typically discard their hide. We want to honor the entirety of the animal. 

If our leather is not up-cycled, it is vegetable-tanned. Vegetable-tanning is the true "chromium-free" method, which does not have harmful chemicals and is biodegradable. It is an organic, old-world, artisanal process that uses tannic acids naturally found in some plant species (barks, branches, leaves and even some fruits) in some specific techniques. We research and learn exactly where our materials come from, to make sure it is the most conscious choice for our brand.

Your business is “slow fashion”. What does that mean? 

Today's mainstream fashion industry relies on globalized mass production, where garments are transformed from the design stage to the retail floor in only a few weeks. Slow fashion is about being purposeful, and making the deliberate choice to buy higher quality items less often. When purchases are made, they’re environmentally and ethically conscious, rather than trend-driven. Did you know that according to the EPA almost 13.1 million tons of textiles are thrown away every year? Only 15% are recovered for reuse or recycling. Slow fashion advocates for principles such as good quality, clean environment, and fairness for both consumers and producers. At Gale & Hayes, we are creating a high quality accessory that can be a timeless staple in your closet for a very long time. The longer you have your Gale & Hayes, the better it will become.

What is the most popular product?

The backpack right now is getting a lot of love!

What inspires you?

There is nothing more inspiring than finding new textiles to work with. I start by envisioning all the things I could make and then get to sketching. The best is when I find a piece of fabric that has been recycled or new leather that has been thrown out, and we get to up-cycle it to make something new that can be worn again.

You mention that each piece is made by hand and turns out “perfectly imperfect”. Can you explain the beauty of this?

We truly value the beauty that stems from the human touch. Most of our products have hand stitching so when we lace the bags up and hand punch the holes, the bags are sometimes asymmetrical.  But that’s the best part - products don't have to be "perfect" to be beautiful. I think we should all embrace imperfections. Natural marks on leather? Yes! The more the better. These minor marks make your bag perfectly imperfect, one-of-a-kind, and individual, just like you!

We’re loving your “Original X Leather” clutch. Could you share three outfits/occasions we could bring it to? 

The beauty of this clutch is that it can be worn with just about anything! 

1. Want to just wear jeans and a basic top to brunch? Add this everyday clutch to bring 'pop' to a simple get-up. 

2. Ready for summer? A flowy bohemian sundress and this clutch make the perfect pair at your next music festival or backyard BBQ. 

3. Wedding season? This clutch dresses up to make a statement.