For Love & Lemons x Understated Leather

 

We first met Jen while she was working at Planet Blue in LA and right off the bat we knew she was going to do big things. She had an unparalleled drive, a keen fashion eye and was practically oozing untapped creativity. That's why it was no surprise when she launched Understated Leather with her hubby Josh. Ever since its inception, Understated Leather has kept us coming back for more by constantly producing totally unique leather pieces that are effortlessly chic and cool (not to mention locally soured). Jen treats all her pieces like a work of art, and since here at For Love & Lemons we work with a similar design process and care for our garments, we knew that we were destined to make some amazing pieces together. 

While each year we create new pieces with Jen and Josh, we always remember our first jacket we made together a few years ago - the "FL&L Club Leather Jacket," complete with a rose and writing on the collar. It was truly a great piece and after receiving such a positive response from all the FLL and Understated Leather babes, we knew we'd be seeing more collaborations in our future! We hope you love the new stuff as much as we loved making it! 

All photos were taken by Alyssa Miller

 

How did Understated Leather come about?

It all happened by accident. We decided to take a chance and hit reset in order to redefine what we wanted to do with our lives. The brand evolved at a time when Josh’s inner artist was experimenting with the properties of leather, so I suggested that we take it on a fashion route and see how it goes. Neither of us had any expectations. Our initial vision was to solely collaborate with other labels but to our surprise our own brand gained momentum fast. The creation of the ‘Go Sit On A Cactus Jacket’ was a game changer. Funnily enough it was actually something that we developed one day when we were bickering, which makes it all the more hilarious that this was the catalyst for our brand’s initial success.

 

 What sets Understated Leather apart from other leather companies?

We aren’t influenced by trends or what other brands are doing, we just do our own thing. All of our leather products are protective wear for motorcycle riding, meaning they are real motorcycle jackets (not just a design replication). Our company structure itself is based off of a collaborative notion to work with people, feeding a sense of ownership to everyone involved from our photographers to our buyers and our customers.

The main distinguishing visual element is the Texan theme seeded throughout our brand. Being that we live here, it comes from an authentic place not just a trend detail. We chose not to look like others because we prefer to work harder and deliver unique products, attracting a cooler and more forward thinking customer.

 

What is it like working with your significant other? What are the challenges? What are the rewards? 

Josh and I started our brand and got married in the same week, before that we were long distance. So things got real, real fast. The first thing we did was separate our roles – he is the boss in his area and I am the boss in my area. We often bounce ideas off each other but ultimately that’s how decisions are made which allows us to each take responsibility. Secondly, we had to figure out how to separate us as a couple to us as business partners, I had to learn to clock off and not annoy him at 2am “did you ship that thing”? It’s pretty rewarding that we get to celebrate every tiny victory together and spend all day with our puppies. 

 

Have you always lived in Texas? What is it like running a business from there?

Josh is from Texas and I am from Sydney, Australia. Austin is pretty laid back which makes it easier for us to stay focused and not get distracted. The city is filled with incredibly creative yet humble entrepreneurs. We choose to surround ourselves with good people who are passionate about what they do. Austin is also located in the middle of NYC and LA time-zone’s, so in that respect it’s a lot easier to get things done faster. 

 We see you two are animal lovers; tell us about your cuddly pups.

Have you ever seen ‘Best In Show'? That’s us. If you haven’t, well basically we are just crazy dog people. Put it this way, they have their own Instagram account (@pirateandarrow). Pirate is 15 months old and Arrow is 15 weeks old, they are both Sheepadoodle’s (English Sheepdog + Poodle) and they are total chick magnets.

 Austin is the most dog friendly city in the USA, so they have a great little life out here. We are both used to working in stressful work environments so these guys really mellow us out.

 

Where is your favorite place to draw inspiration from?

I am unashamedly addicted to Etsy. I love to trawl through the pages and find unique vintage pieces. We regularly drop by the antique malls in Austin which are set up as consignment based stalls almost like a flea market. There is so much inspiration to be pulled from designs of the past which we then rework within the parameters of our brand to make them relevant. 

 

This isn’t the first FL&L X Understated Leather collab, tell us why you enjoy collab-ing with FL&L.

For Love & Lemons are heaven to work with and have supported the growth of our brand since it’s inception. The team are so down to earth which is a direct reflection of Gillian and Laura’s influence on their company. We are inspired by the brand’s originality to stay ahead of the game and constantly excite their customers and we are honored to align ourselves with their collections. In addition, we have the same taste which makes designing collaborations very enjoyable. 

 

 What is something special about the most recent collaboration from Fall 2016?

Our collaboration for Fall '16 with FL&L was actually a first for us on a few levels. This is the first time that we incorporated some stud work as a design element. Fall '16 was also the first time we developed items outside of outerwear, which was a lot less scary to do with the support of the FL&L design team. With each collection we are advancing our designs and getting better at what we do, this is an exciting thing to share with our friends at FL&L.

What types of materials do you use?

Our leathers and suedes are all drum dyed while our denims are stone washed. The leathers that we use are carefully selected from reliable sources as all products that we use are a bi-product of the meat industry. Everything is cut and assembled by hand in order to form the pieces. Even the stud work and all of our patchwork and metal embellishments are created, assembled and attached by hand. Josh personally engraves everything himself using our laser machine.

 Why do you think the jackets are a great addition to any fall wardrobe? 

Our jackets are limited edition and timeless. They will be just as cool to throw on next year or the year after that with the potential to be handed down as heirloom pieces. A good jacket takes no effort and suits women of all ages, all shapes and all sizes. You do not need to be a certain age or size to look incredible in these pieces and it’s the easiest way to update any look. We hope our pieces embrace our ladies and amplify their inner confidence. 

 

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