The Leather Man : Jade Rhone

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October 20, 2014

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My first encounter with Jade Rhone was in a Soho street around a year ago, when I accosted him for a picture of his beard! I’m sure he must have thought I was a little desperate at the time but smiled and played along all the same…

Subsequently I have discovered that Jade is so much more than just a beard – in fact, he’s a multi-talented designer and maker of all things leather. With a background in design, Jade started out by making pieces for friends and family but now his business is growing from strength to strength.

We were delighted to catch a few moments with him to chat leather, design and the all important facial hair.

jade2

Thanks for taking the time to talk to Beardrevered. Tell us about jaderhone.co.uk, your leather goods website. How did this originally come about?

The leather goods business came about as I was unable to find products that I really wanted. Having been introduced to a local leather supplier by a good friend I began designing and crafting a few small leather goods, initially making products for my own personal use but I was regularly getting asked “where can I buy one of those?’ or ‘where did you get that?’ So I started making pieces for friends and friends of friends, gradually things grew from there, and here I am now.

It’s been a pretty organic process, taking my passion and starting JADERhone leather goods, but I’ve always been drawn to the idea of being a craftsmen, having a hand skill and being able to express my passion through a craft is rewarding. Having that ability to take something from its initial concept and seeing it through every step of the process to the final finished product that someone can enjoy for many years to come is very satisfying.

The simplicity in the design and make of JADERhone handcrafted products allows you to really appreciate the quality of the leather and craftsmanship used in their creation.

Describe your creative process.

Having a background rooted in performance apparel design I am in a strong mindset of functionality and purposefulness, this is reflected in my leatherwork – I set out to create functional yet minimal products for everyday usage. I’m not a follower of trends nor do I get caught up in the hype of things going on around me, I like to stay true to what I believe by creating timeless classics designed for consumers who appreciate products that are carefully thought out, designed to serve a specific purpose whilst aiming to be aesthetically pleasing. The simplicity in the design and make of my handcrafted products allow you to appreciate the quality of the leather and craftsmanship used in their creation.

 jade3

What was your background before entering the world of leather design? Have you always been in the creative field?

When I left school I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life, the only certainty there was is that it would be within the creative field. I graduated from Kent Institute of Art & Design (Rochester) with a First Class BA (hons) in Menswear Design and went on to work as a multi-product menswear designer for Timberland, this is where you could say I began my journey. I had the pleasure of working with some of the most creative people in the industry and learnt more than I can could have imagined in the time I was there, for which I will forever be grateful of the experience. After here I had some freelance opportunities and got to put my skills to use with varied companies across the globe, all being within the outdoor performance arena, it was within this period that I began to question what it is that I truly want to do, don’t get me wrong I enjoy designing apparel and always will but I wanted something of my own, something I could wholly see through from inception to completion without somebody else making the decisions.

What design sites do you admire and why?

I have a daily ritual, it involves Tumblr & Pinterest. These are the first things I check in the morning and the last things I check at night. I never appreciated how important social media really is until I started taking my leather goods more seriously as a business. I have a lot of design orientated sites bookmarked which I check from time to time, from hypebeast, selectism, highsnobiety & a continuous lean etc but the beauty of Tumblr & Pinterest is you really have to search for it, you become the source in a way, it’s not put out on a plate for you, you’re the one scouring through images and pulling out what you like or find interesting. That’s why I started my Tumblr. It was more a way of having an ever evolving mood board that I could constantly grow as opposed to storing folders of imagery that I’d never look at on my computer. I was naïve to the fact that there were followers and reposts to begin with so I guess it’s just nice that other people find your visual thought process a source of inspiration.

We love the fact you have gifts for girls too, especially the customised bracelets and trays – are these as popular as your products for men?

I initially only ever set out to make products that I myself would like to use and somewhere down the line I found myself working on pieces I thought my girlfriend would appreciate, including homeware additions, I’ve had a really good response to these products. It’s funny as you set out with a certain perceived demographic in mind yet you find that a differing audience is responding to the products.

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Tell us about your image and the beard? We’ve noticed you also have some stunning tattoos.

When it comes to image I’m not an overly complicated guy, my wardrobe is fairly samey, I have a stack of denim but find myself wearing the same pair day in day out. I have about 15 Henleys, which to most people are probably all the same (I can assure you they are all slightly different shades of cream) and when weather permits it I love a good bit of knitwear. It’s the beard that ties it all together for me though, it’s the ultimate men’s accessory – with my beard I feel like I am complete.

The tattoos are portraits of my Grandparents, growing up we were a really close family, my mum has an old family photo album and the sepia portrait photography is just stunning. I knew right away I wanted a portrait of them both so hunted down the best portrait tattoo artist I could find to do them justice and he exceeded my expectations with the outcome. A lot of people say you’ll have regrets with tattoos but I’ve got my grandparents with me every step of the way, what’s to regret about that?

What does having a beard mean to you?

I’ve had a beard for quite a few years now, I went through phases of growing a nice full on beard then just shaving it all off for no apparent reason and regretted it every time. It’s here to stay now though, I’m definitely taken a lot more seriously with it than without.

Do you look after your own facial hair or do you have a favourite barber you go to?

Up until recently I used to take care of it myself, but once it started to take on a life of it’s own I decided to frequent the barbers, I’ve tried a few but landed on Ruffians at Covent Garden. If your ever in town and fancy a trim I’d recommend Richard Tucker for the job! I maintain it between visits with some light home scissoring and keep it in tiptop condition with Apothecary87 beard oil.

When we last met you said you were tempted to shave your beard off – is this still the case?

Never again

Who is your bearded hero and why?

I’m not sure I have one. I don’t have a beard because of a bearded figure I admire, I think I just admire a good beard when I see one. That being said though Jimmy Niggles is a pretty inspirational Bearded icon, I have a lot of respect for that man and his bearded journey. Also, when I was younger one of my uncles had a beard and he reminded me and my brothers of the Kryptonian supervillian, Non from Superman 2, that was a pretty memorable beard moment growing up!

jaderhone.co.uk

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