In-person course

Understanding materials for fashion accessories: leather VS vegan leather, fittings and sustainability



What is the best material for handbags and fashion accessories? For any career in accessory design, understanding materials is essential. This group class is designed to help accessory and bag designers make informed and far-sighted decisions when choosing the materials for their collection, taking into account performance, costs and sustainability. You will learn what leather and vegan leather are, their characteristics and the pros and cons from both a practical and sustainability point of view. You will have the chance to see and feel material samples to understand the different leather finishings and different types of leather alternatives. We will also show you how the materials perform and how they react to the most common processing techniques for accessory and bag making. You will explore the small, simple steps to take for creating the foundations for a sustainable business and communicating your commitments to your customers. WHAT WILL YOU LEARN? – What leather is and how it is made – What leather tanning is and how this influences the performance of the leather – Leather grades and finishings – What sustainability is – An overview of the sustainability of leather – What vegan leather is and what it is made of – What the most popular types of vegan leather are – An overview of the sustainability of vegan leather – Accessory fittings, an overview – What a small business can do to be (more) sustainable – What are the major differences in working with leather and vegan leather in the creation of a finished product – An overview of the differences in manufacturing of leather vs vegan leather – An understanding of the finishing and construction techniques for leather and vegan leather – How to identify the best material for handbags and accessories considering performance, cost and sustainability WHO IS THIS COURSE FOR? This course is designed for established or aspiring designers and accessory brand owners interested in understanding more about the pros and cons of working with vegan leather and leather in their collections. The course is created for those who need to have a deeper understanding of the impact that using specific materials and hardware can have in the prototyping and manufacturing processes in order to be able to make the best choice for their business.

What's included in the price?

You will receive the slides of the course and the following handouts: – A list of recommended suppliers for leather and fittings (in London and online) – A list of the most popular vegan leather available on the market


3½ hours (10:00am to 1:30pm)

Cancellation policy

Strict - Cancellation and a full refund can be obtained up to 8 weeks before the course starts. Start dates may be amended on request.


The London Leather Workshopis a design, prototyping and manufacturing studio founded by Italian designers and makers Sara Battiston and Melissa Bruscoli. With 20 years of experience in the fashion and accessory industry Sara and Melissa work with both local and international customers ranging from start-ups to established brands. Their studio is able to offer a range of services from design consultancy to product development and from prototyping to manufacturing of handbags, accessories and soft furnishings. Their practical classes will teach you the fundamental techniques of working with leather or vegan leather, how to sew these materials to a professional standard and how to create customised goods. The theoretical classes will provide you with the foundation for designing bags and accessories as well as insights and essential information about the industry.


TB-111, UNIT 8, HARRINGTON WAY, LONDON, Greater London, SE18 5NR

Suitable for

  • Adults
  • Parking provided
  • Suitable for beginners
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