Design duo and longstanding friends Emily Harrison and Jennie Engelhardt together make Hare + Hart. Having met in their freshman year at college, the two pursued different career paths – Jennie in New York City working for Stuart Weitzman and Emily in the wine industry in Argentina – before meeting up in Buenos Aires in 2009. This meeting sparked something that set in motion the Hare + Hart line of leather goods. “Since leather is such an important part of the Argentine culture, Jennie wanted to have a jacket made”, Emily told me. She continued, “We created the idea for Hare + Hart and based on that one jacket, we spent the entire trip expanding the concept to include multiple styles and created a full line.”
Jackets, handbags and jewelry fall under the Hare + Hart umbrella, with future plans to expand the collection. Currently, best selling items are the brief clutch and the zero-waste bangles, created from “scraps of leather left over from production”. This eco-conscious attitude extends throughout their line. Emily explained to me that whilst Hare + Hart are not an organic brand, nor can they be fully ‘eco’, “we try to do everything as ethically as we can and with as much transparency as possible.” She went on to tell me, “We use vegetable tanned leather and completely un-dyed hair calf hide in our handbags since they are the most natural leathers available.” Certainly when I met with Emily and Jennie, values of sustainability and fair treatment were principles they held dear, values that are also represented in their line and the manufacturing process.
The collection is aimed at those who spend time travelling – women on the go. Their larger clutches are perfect for laptops, files and papers and the smaller bags are sized neatly to hold the iPad and the Kindle. Emily and Jennie themselves are used to travel – the team remain split between Argentina and the United States. I asked them about some of the similarities and differences in fashion and style between North and South America. They replied, “New York is a much more international city, so you have the amazing cross-section of cultures and styles that is very unique to New York.” They continued, “Buenos Aires has a really good shopping scene and style varies from an early-nineties inspired aesthetic (neon, high top reeboks, etc) to the very elegant and ladylike.”
I also asked Emily and Jennie about the pros and cons of being in business together as close friends. Emily described a very positive working a relationship resulting from their friendship; “Working together has been extremely easy. It seems like a very unique situation where we are able to transition back and forth from work-related conversations to personal ones.”
What I thought was unique about Hare + Hart is how well the human touch apparent in their business ideas translated into their leather pieces. With a small but perfectly formed collection, the label is now a firm favourite of mine for a touch of chic, international glamour.