studio spaces: joshu+vela.
joshu+Vela designs explore the harmony of style and function, building all of their bags to last, with the intention that they grow more and more beautiful with age and wear. Each piece is handmade with a lot of attention to the smallest detail at their San Francisco design studio south of market. sfgirlbybay photographer cindy loughridge and i wanted to see their handy work up close and personal, so we took a trip to the joshu+vela studio to visit designer Noah Guy and his team. noah began designing bags in 2001, and from his travels and his work experience with major design companies, such as Levis and North Face, he gained the knowledge and the passion to create quality products with enduring design — he started Joshu+Vela in 2010.
using only the best quality natural leather from US tanneries, Most of the leather joshu+vela uses is processed by vegetable tanning, which involves using tannin, a chemical that is found in the bark and leaves of many plants. Hides are stretched on frames and immersed for several weeks in vats of increasing concentrations of tannin and the tannin molecules binds to the leather to make it waterproof, rot resistant and flexible. the leather is then used along with natural organic canvas, and copper and brass rivets (which sheen or patina naturally) to create their beautiful line of sturdy, but stylish bags — dopp kits, backpacks, tote bags and gorgeous wallets and key chains that hang nicely from your jeans are all handmade right there in-house. it was so cool to see all the tools and handwork that goes into each bag — it’s so much time-consuming work, but the finished products are everything you’d hope them to be — made with a lot of love and an obvious pride in craftsmanship. you can stay up to date with joshu+vela on their website, and on their beautiful journal pages, too.
• all photos by cindy loughridge and victoria smith.