The Letter | Hand-Painted Leather Jackets

The Letter kicks up the dust and rides off into the sunset with their extreme coolness - a coolness usually only found within the boundaries of 70s Hollywood cinema. With waistcoats, jumpsuits, jackets, and a shirt you could easily see Quentin Tarantino wearing, everything within this luxury brand falls into the notion of 'effectless style'. They are a Dubai-based company that, with designer Mohammed Rabi, craft luxury leather jackets and this London Fashion Week they showcased their new collection 'Capsule I' at a pop-up store in Soho with Lone Design Club. That is where I discovered them; a hand-painted fiery leather sleeve hanging between garments on the clothes rails caught my eye and my cinema-loving heart.

From then on I knew I wanted to know more about The Letter... In this article, I ask them all about their love of the Californian culture and how they capture it in their artisan craftmanship and their style.

I wondered if you could tell me how The Letter started, and why?

It started with the love of a singular piece, which is the leather jacket & it gradually grew from there. My love for outerwear began by being a serious cinephile and the piece was shown on screen a lot. As my love for cinema grew, my favourite movies such as the terminator, matrix & Serpico and many others all hand characters in the film that wore a leather jacket. As I grew older and my knowledge of everything pop culture related became more efficient. Once the time was right I started doing my research on how to get production going and form the right team who understands my aesthetics and little by little before I knew it, I was launching a full-fledged brand.

I know a big inspiration is a Californian culture and the 70s film scene, I wonder why that is and where that love came from?

From the people, from the lifestyle, how to mix and match elegance with extreme coolness, how to make your energy and body language bring out the sense of style that you didn’t know you ever had. The love for film, music and art and the trends each one of those mediums bring to fashion is beyond one's imagination. The boundaries the state can inspire you with is unquestionable & no matter where I land after my departure from California, it will remain a special place to me and my growth that took place while I was there for 5 full years, I will hold sacred for eternity.

Can you describe the creative process of these jackets - I hear they’re hand-painted? That makes for quite an individual piece of clothing!

It starts with a sketch of what I want the jacket to look like, then what colour palette would suit this specific design the most, followed by the minor components such as buttons, zipper, additional designs such as paintwork or studs and how we could fit the pieces all together. Once an overall design has been set, I elaborate on the design more. Since I use high-quality satin for the interior lining of each jacket, I look into that as well to find out how I can give the piece a classier look. Then comes the selection of leather samples, going through what quality level is the best and what would resonate most with the customers depending on what season the jacket is being made for. A lighter quality high-end Napa sheep leather would be for spring /summer and a heavier duty leather for fall/ winter. Lastly, the construction of it, since it’s all been made by hand by highly qualified artisans, we make the sample and observe the fit and once all those components have been greenlit, we are all set for a final product.

What made you want to move from art into fashion, or use art specifically for fashion?

It was really inevitable that I somehow land myself in this art medium. As a child, my fascination with the arts mainly involved film. Beyond cinema, I would add psychology to dig deeper into what section of cinema I loved the most. The terminator being my all-time favourite movie, seeing Schwarzenegger wear a leather jacket and ride the motorbike really stood out to me and the confidence I would see what a single piece of wardrobe would give a fictional character really fascinated me as a child and now as an adult. Icons like Marlon Brando, Steve McQueen and many others wore bomber and biker jackets and the levels it would take them in terms of their personality and personal style resonated with me a lot and the goal since I started the brand was to make the man and women feel as cool as past and present icons felt when they wore a jacket.

What do you hope these jackets inspire/represent for people?

To build confidence, to go through the struggles and successes that one may go through in their lifetime. To inspire generations to come to educate the ones who started before them on what the next trendsetting would be. To advocate the arts, all the mediums it has to offer and incorporate them in whichever medium one decides to make a career out of.

Shop their collection here.

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