ABOUT

hidesign store timeline

From its artisan roots of a two man workshop to a company of 3000 spread all over the world, Hidesign has stayed true to its strong heritage of craftsmanship and innovative design. Hidesign stands out for the sensuous naturalness of its high quality leather products and smooth soft glow of its solid brass fittings.

Hidesign started in 1978, as a hobby by Dilip Kapur on his return to India after his Ph.D in International Affairs in the United States. The first few bags were different compared to anything being manufactured in Europe and America at that time. From small alternative shops in San Francisco and London, the bags moved to the first adventurous department stores in the early 1990s in London, California and Australia. Hidesign launched its first exclusive boutique in India in 1998 and has quickly grown to 84 exclusive stores and a distribution network in 23 countries that has placed its product in over 2000 stores across the globe.

CRAFTMANSHIP

Hidesign believes in being artisanal: at our atelier there is no mass production, no assembly line. Our products are all handcrafted using leathers that come from our own tanneries, brass buckles that are exclusively sand casted and polished painstakingly by hand at our own brass forge.

Our craftsmen still knot every stitch ending by hand, and our cutters still cut leather with fine pointed knives, a skill that takes two years to master. With an average work experience at Hidesign of over 17 years, we have one of the most skilled teams of craftsmen in the leather goods industry in the world.

SHOPPING AT HIDESIGN

Hidesignleather.com is owned and run by Hide distribution Limited the UK based distributor for the Hidesign Brand. This means that anything you purchased from our site is dispatched from our warehouse in the UK quickly and efficiently and we do not charge for UK deliveries. Fast and free delivery as standard.

Being UK based means you benefit from our two year guarantee. We pride ourselves on exceptional customer service, if you have purchased a hidesign item from our site we are always happy to offer you the best advice and aftercare that we can.

TIMELINE

hidesign timeline
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1982

HIDESIGN IN THE UK

Hidesign launches in the UK and quickly becomes a counter culture icon in independent stores.

1984

SOLID BRASS BUCKLES

Hidesign refuses to settle for electroplated zinc alloy fittings. Our commitment to craftsmanship and ecology leads to the development of solid brass buckles. Hand-crafted and hand finished using traditional methods of sand casting, these brass buckles will stand the test of time.

1985

FIRST DEPARTMENT STORE: JOHN LEWIS


John Lewis in the UK is the first department store to carry the full line of Hidesign leather goods that now includes hand bags, and wallets, as well as weekend, toiletry and computer bags.

1988

HIDESIGN INTRODUCES GARMENTS


Hidesign successfully introduces leather garments including edgy jackets and thigh hugging long pants.

1992

ACCESSORY OF THE YEAR


Accessory Magazine U.K. choose Hidesign’s ‘Boxy Bag‘ as Accessory of the year. Princess Diana Awards Hidesign this prestigious prize.

1997

HIDESIGN’S FIRST INTERNATIONAL STORE IN MOSCOW

1998

SOUTH AFRICA: FIRST EMERGING MARKET


The merging markets of Malaysia, South Africa, Vietnam and eventually India will become a major growth area of Hidesign.

1999

HIDESIGN GROWS IN INDIA


Hidesign grows rapidly in India, quickly becomes a truly national brand for its elegance, quality and craftsmanship. 

2004

ALBERTO CIASCHINI JOINS AS HIDESIGN’S LEAD DESIGNER


Hidesign grows rapidly in India, quickly becomes a truly national brand for its elegance, quality and craftsmanship. 

2010

HIDESIGN LAUNCHES FLAGSHIP STORE


Hidesign launches its multistory flagship store in downtown Pondicherry. The store includes a cafe and a hidesign museum.

2013

HIDESIGN EXTENDS ITS BRAND TO SUNGLASSES

2015

HIDESIGN LAUNCHES HIDESIGN SHOES

LEATHER CARE

Hidesign Leathers

  • Classic : Our classic vegetable tanned leather has made Hidesign the leader internationally in the use of ecological products. This vegetable tanned leather ages with a patina, making it more beautiful with use.
  • Soweto & Ranchero : Sensuous classic vegetable tanned cowhides with heavy natural textured grain.
  • Crocodile / Lizard : Exotic embossed leathers which are great for classic as well as fashion handbags and small leather goods. Our embossed leathers are vegetable tanned full grain cowhides and retain the emboss well.
  • Cowdeer : One of our softest leathers with natural grain.  Continuous addition of new colors makes this the ideal fashion leather.

How to care for leather products

  • CLEANING :
    • Rub lightly with a soft damp cloth dipped in light shampoo solution.
    • In case of light coloured leathers avoid dirt and oil.
    • Leather’s worst enemies are oil/eggs/pen marks. They do not come out.
    • Hidesign’s light coloured leathers such as white, nude and beak have a special finish from 3M technologies, that adds a protective layer, but this does not help against oil.
  • STORAGE :
    • Leather products should be well aired out or stored in a cloth bag.
    • Do not enclose leather products in plastic bags for a long period of time.

The different absorption properties of each hide allow for unique textures and colour variations.

INNOVATION AND DESIGN

Vegetable Tanning: On discovering that most tanneries had shifted to the faster and cheaper process of chemical tanning, Hidesign revived the almost forgotten technique of vegetable tanning. Learning from the centuries old skills, using natural seeds and barks native to South India, Hidesign has created fashionable leathers that age exceptionally well. Today it is a leader in the research and use of vegetable tanned leathers across the globe.

Marca Punto: The dying art of Marca Punto, where every stitch is embossed by a heated metal foot has been brought back by Hidesign. Known as a heritage craft exclusive to Florence, we studied it 30 years ago in Santa Croce, Italy. It has since been abandoned in Italy as ‘too time consuming’ but we believe that the greatest beauty is often slow, stitch by Marca Punto stitch.

Design Team: “There is great beauty in simplicity” modest advice from The Mother at Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Pondicherry that influenced Dilip Kapur all his childhood. It is still the basic design philosophy that drives Hidesign, with both Alberto Ciaschini in Milan and Fabian Lintott in London sharing the same belief.

Hidesign’s multi-cultural aesthetic is also reflected in our design team. Fabian Lintott with his edgy style and British functionality designs our men’s range, Alberto Ciaschini with his experience at Giorgio Armani, Trussardi & Hugo Boss make him a fantastic designer for women’s fashion and luxury. In India, Dilip Kapur’s simple, often androgynous sense makes for excellent men’s and women’s collections.

Hand-Painting: Hidesign’s leathers are intrinsically beautiful; fortunately we don’t need to hide them under layers of paint. Our leathers are lightly coloured, often by hand, to ensure that the natural character of the leather is visible.

Every year, we also release a line of limited edition bags that are individually painted by illustrator and artist, Amrita Nambiar. Inspired by the beauty of nature, the melody of the sea or the infinite possibilities of magic and fantasy, each bag illustrates a captivating story.

THE ICONS

hidesign vs racial prejudice banner

Great brands take decades to build, the journey and story of every brand is unique and precious” This advice came from Yves Carcelle, then President of Louis Vuitton to Dilip Kapur, founder of Hidesign when he first met him many years ago in Pondicherry.

Inspired by Yves, we decided to endorse our heritage and document our story through the ‘Icon Book’. Bound in Hidesign’s vegetable tanned goat leather, the ‘Icon Book’ reflects the rich history and rebellious character of our brand and its founder Dilip Kapur’s journey over the years.

In 2014, we relaunched 11 of our most beloved bags, calling them ‘The Icons’. These bags with their whimsical designs are individualistic and full of character; they stood for what we loved best – a spirit of adventure, clean designs and the use of natural materials.

A special exhibition of our museum bags, banned advertisements and archival photographs by Dinh Thi Tien along with the Icon Book, was curated by Dilip Kapur and presented for display at premium malls in Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore. Symbolically, this exhibition began at the Aurobindo Ashram in Pondicherry, which is where Hidesign began.

THE GREEN STORY

The Green story is an environmental project of Hidesign in collaboration with Joss Brooks. Joss’ love of nature has been a constant source of inspiration to Hidesign with his successful experience in restoring the Adyar Creek in Chennai and over 30 years of work conserving the Pitchandikulam forests in Auroville, For this project, we are working with Joss and his team to expand the forests near our atelier and conserve traditional medicinal plants.

Hidesign shares its love for nature with Joss and communicates this with a series of three stories – afforestation, medicinal plants, and wildlife in it’s packaging. Our new paper bags and cloth bags communicate these stories and we have written a lot about the beauty of wildlife in the Hidesign Diary 2016. Some of the money from the proceeds will be going towards Joss and his team to help them conserve indigenous forests.

We use only vegetable extracts for tanning as far as possible. All waste water from the tannery is filtered using RO before it is let out. All waste water in the atelier goes through a natural process of filtration in the water bodies we’ve built as a part of the landscaping and is reused.All waste material is separated and reused or sold for reuse. We do not burn anything. For us the concern for ecology is an ongoing search for better healthier ways to live and work. It comes out of believing in it and making it a core value.

Hidesign established its first custom designed atelier in Pondicherry, India in 1990. This important milestone confirms our commitment to innovation, technical excellence and local community development. The premises where we work reflects our brand values – our atelier is constructed from bricks made of local earth and fired in kilns that were made on the premises, by Ray Meeker, the well-known low cost ecological building expert.

Our campus is perfectly located amidst green meadows, duck ponds, waterfalls and other wild trees. Lunch time at Hidesign is pretty much outdoors, under the trees, sitting on rock benches and tables. Our atelier is a reflection of our brand and inspires our design and way of life.