photo: Kelly Miller
When you dream about doing a thing, sometimes you have to just take a step towards making it happen and see where it takes you. That’s what happened when Kelly Miller stumbled upon an expert patternmaker in Paris and created something she always dreamed about, a bespoke leather motorcycle jacket. She was recently featured on this article in Forbes.
What I love about this story is how Kelly started, like many business owners, scratching her own itch. For her that went from finding to eventually creating the thing she wanted and then to fitting it to her own style and sensibilities. Though these jackets look at home in a high-fashion boutique she uses reclaimed handbag and lining materials keeping to her scrappy roots.
I also love the quote that she has on her site from Yohji Yamamoto, “Start copying what you love. Copy copy copy copy. At the end of the copy, you will find yourself.” I know many now professional leather goods makers who started their journey this way. As a beginning maker, you often don’t know why you like something. It’s only after repeatedly examining, dissecting and, like Yohji advises, copying do you start to understand what design principles embody a piece and what resonates with you.
Read the Forbes article on Kelly here.
Thanks! Deeply inspiring and encouraging! I loved the “copy, copy, copy” comment. I was feeling guilty about trying to copy what I love. Now I feel vindicated! Your article and Kelly’s story was liberating. Thanks Fineleatherworking, you’re the bomb!
I’m going to push back on this sentiment. It’s not ok to “copy, copy, copy”, it’s simply not ethical….Rather than taking, be inspired, inspired, inspired!!!!!! If you like something, like say a Langlitz leather jacket, a company and product developed over time since 1947, then let it inspire you. To rip something off, to copy it verbatim to then sell it or present it as your own is NOT ok!!!! I’m not sure what Kelly Millers underlying message is other than it’s A-OK to steal someone else’s intellectual property… My advice, do the work, put in the time and then make something of your own. Be inspired, by all means let existing work inspire you, but give them credit by telling the world that their jackets, bags and clothing influenced you….do not be a thief, do not take something that is not yours.
Hi Nancy! Thanks for reading our post and for your insight. I think the sentiment here was not to copy for production purposes, but to copy techniques and designs just for your own learning – much like a musician might practice songs from his/her favorite artist in order to expand their repertoire and ability before writing their own music. I hope this helps!
Glad we could be of some encouragement, Marlys! You’re work is consistently inspiring and, without a doubt, we’ll all be copying you one day!
Leather Card Holders
That was a nice quote on copying thing you love. Thanks that you made let us know.
We all have so much to learn from those who have come before us. Copying the work of others is a great way to learn and understand the techniques of those we admire and we can learn a bit more about our own style in the process.
Buscar hasta encontrar, todos tenemos pasión por algo y debemos explorar con diversos procesos, texturas, materiales y accesorios, así encontramos nuestra propia identidad.
Beautifully said, Fernanda! Thanks for taking the time to read our article.
This is a second woman I see that went into making leatherjackets (previous one was a youtube video I stumbled on sorry can’t remember her name but she’s somewhere down south or midwest from what I remember). Yamamoto’s quote applies to everything in life (the quote does not mean copy verbatim and sell as your own). Back in the day I used to produce EDM and was heavily influenced by several artists. I’ve tried to create similar sounding tracks and in the end I developed my own sound / style. One could hear influence from other artists but in the end it was my music, my work, and people liked it. Thank you for the article! These Friday blogs always bring inspiration to get back to it.
I appreciate you sharing some of your story and how a similar design philosophy has helped you. Thanks for chiming in, Misha!