MAKERS OF LONDON: SABINE GERTH OF S GERTH LEATHER ACCESSORIES
In this week’s edition of our Makers series we caught up with Sabine Gerth of S Gerth Leather Accessories to find out more about her graphic, detailed, and unique products. With a focus on wallets, bags, lanyards and keychains, her accessories are one-of-a-kind and Sabine has a keen interest in customising products as well.
S Gerth, Broadway Market, London E8 4QJ.
WORDS BY THE CITY STORY TEAM
The City Story: Tell us a little more about S-Gerth – what made you start your label?
Sabine Gerth: This is a bit difficult to answer as it feels like it has been such a long process. After my father passed away in 2011 I needed some time off. In that time, I started making little bits and bobs with leather, and in 2012 my partner and I organised an art project called Limited Space, where he showed some illustrations in a cupboard under a set of stairs, so I took that opportunity to show my tiny collection.
My friends gave me a lot of positive feedback, so I started making more products and at the same time started to apply to sell at markets. An organiser of one of these markets referred me to Broadway Market where I am selling my wares since.
TCS: Did you study design or are you self-taught?
SG: I would say half-and-half. The design part is studied, the leather work is self-taught. I studied graphic design first and then did additional studies in fashion design/womenswear, both in Germany. After that I came to the UK and freelanced for the accessories designer Kate Sheridan – who really taught and inspired me a lot.
TCS: Your designs have very clean lines and come in the most delightful colour combinations. Have you always had this approach to your work or did your aesthetic evolve over time?
SG: I have always had a graphic approach to design as it is embedded in my background. And I absolutely love colours. That said, it has definitely developed over the years. This is, though, a reason why I am still making unique pieces and not collections. It is my favourite part to choose the colours and bring them together each time.
TCS: Where do you source your leather from?
SG: I mainly go to leather merchants in London. I started off with just using off cuts but nowadays I also buy whole skins. Often they are still one-offs as bigger companies need larger supplies but I can just use smaller pieces up. The main focus is that the quality is very good
TCS: You have a weekly stall at Broadway Market. Do you retail at other markets as well? What’s the best route to getting an S-Gerth product?
SG: I used to do quite a few other design markets but since I had my son in 2015 I have slowed down a little. Recently I have started to again but not on a weekly basis. So, Broadway Market or online are the best way to get your hands on my products, otherwise check out my Instagram, I will always post there if I am popping up somewhere else or if a new stockist is on the horizon.
TCS: Can you tell us the best and worst part of being a maker in the city of London?
SG: London is an amazing city and has so much to offer. It is diverse and inspirational and keeps the creativity alive. Also, there are lots of like-minded people. I love the exchange and support of all my independent designer friends. Another bonus is that the public transport network is well developed so there’s no need to own a car.
One of the things that started bothering me about London is the pollution, and I hope this issue will be tackled in the near future. It is also a very expensive to live in. But the silver lining is that it keeps you on your toes even though it can be quite stressful sometimes.
Photographs by Juhi Pande