On a roll— Brussels


Atelier Charles Schambourg weaves Toile de Cuir leather and was founded by a former secret-service agent who saw an exquisite business opportunity.

Atelier Charles Schambourg

An Iranian princess, a wheelchair-bound former secret agent, Nazi Germany, the Khmer Rouge, and some of the world’s most powerful fashion houses. It may read like the cast of a dodgy James Bond film but these are just some of the threads that come together in the extraordinary weave of Toile de Cuir leather.

The exact weaving technique is still a closely guarded secret, locked up in the unflashy workshop of Atelier Charles Schambourg on an industrial estate in the sleepy Brussels suburb of Forêt. Developed in the 1960s by former Belgian secret…

Making weaves: the process

All in a leather

Top three leather goods firms

Makr, USA

Jason Gregory’s background as an architect is evident in the highly technical design of Makr’s accessories, which include card cases and wallets. Most of the leather is sourced from Horween in Chicago.

Scheer, Austria

Viennese shoe company Scheer is seven generations old. “We still use the same tools and techniques,” says owner Markus Scheer. Adding a 15-fold polish with specially developed creams ensures the best possible protection for your footwear.

Inden-ya, Japan

“Our company dates back to the Edo era. We don’t see time as other fashion people do,” says Tadatoshi Dezawa, director at Inden-ya. Many traditional techniques are used to make Inden leather wallets purses and bags. It takes at least five years to train as an Inden-ya craftsman.


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