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leather classics

June 10, 2013




Making and selling leather bags at craft shows was a hobby for Emil Congdon. Until 2009.

That’s when Leslie, his wife, convinced him to start Nashville-based Emil Erwin, a leather and canvas carry-goods company.

The family business is named for its chief craftsman and in honor of Erwin, the small mountain town in east Tennessee where he learned to appreciate leather work.

The couple’s efforts quickly paid off. Later that year, they teamed up with Imogene + Willie (the Nashville jeans maker) on a project for retailer J. Crew.

In 2010, Emil Erwin and its waxed canvas bag were honored with a “Made in the South” award by Charleston-based Garden & Gun magazine.

With a bridle leather handle and straps, the Erwin ($1,400 and shown above) is a best seller. The classic briefcase features two large compartments and smaller pockets for pens and phone. It also includes a sleeve for your notebook computer or tablet.

For a classic, must-have accessory, check the leather belts ($100 to 110, below). With their clean, simple design, the belts come in seven colors and two widths. Each belt also comes with two interchangeable buckles in brass and stainless steel.

Other smart goods include leather totes, wallets and a yummy weekender bag ($1,950, below). Simply elegant.

This fall the company will offer a new women’s line. Learn more at

weekender bag



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