Out of Africa - relaxed luxury with Hyde & Hare
As part of our continuing look into great British brands, we really wanted to bring you the story behind one of Britain’s most exciting new luxury brands – Hyde & Hare.
Based in the beautiful Cotswold countryside near Cirencester, Hyde & Hare are committed to bringing us beautiful and unique accessories, fully designed and made in Britain from ethically sourced 100% natural cow hides. Each hide, as you would expect, is unique, and this means that with every Hyde & Hare product you can be sure that no one else will have one the same. In our era of mass-produced fashion this is a real plus point in our eyes, and the quality of Hyde & Hare pieces makes each unique bag extra special.
So how did it all begin?
Turning down the offer of a lucrative job in the City after finishing university, founder Piers Dickinson took what turned out to be a life changing position as a luxury safari lodge manager in Kenya. This is where he first came across the natural beauty of products made from cowhides, which were for sale in the onsite boutique at one of the lodges. After an evening chatting with a visiting fashion designer, Piers realised that there was a gap in the market for something similar in the UK, and Hyde & Hare was born.
Piers has always been a champion of our British heritage and this remains both an inspiration behind and a focus for the Hyde & Hare collection. Where many companies will use clever printing methods to impress a cowhide pattern on a plain white cowhide, thus losing the texture and feel of the genuine article, Piers personally selects every (genuine) hide that is used in Hyde & Hare’s products. This can be a lengthy process, with only the very best and most unusual hides, sometimes only a handful out of hundreds, being picked to turn into the gorgeous bags. By selecting the hides in person, Piers is able to ensure that each hide has been ethically collected and prepared, so you can be confident the highest possible standards have been met when buying a Hyde & Hare bag.
Being able to easily visit all the places where Hyde & Hare products are made is something Piers very much enjoys, and he even named the pieces in the debut collection as a tribute to the towns and villages the items were sourced from.
Our top picks
A standout bag for us was this Arundell Cowhide clutch, in the gorgeous light speckled pattern. The bag is the perfect size for carrying the essentials we need for that weekend brunch session or post-work drink, and we love the unusual look of this hide, which is so pretty and gives a versatile look that works equally well for both country and city lifestyles.
An added bonus to the design of this bag is the removable tassel, which can be swapped for another within Hyde & Hare’s best-selling range of coloured suede tassels. We love this ability to more closely match the bag to your wider look, and think this lavender tassel works especially well with this particular hide to create an autumnal outfit.
Another bag that caught our eye is this Foxley Cowhide handbag, which in this version has the most beautiful rich red/chocolate colour. A perfect size to tote round everything a girl about town needs in daily life, from the laptop to that pair of flats, the bag also sets itself apart from other tote-type handbags we’ve seen with a durable fill zip along the opening. This added security is a real feature and we like the clever design that means the zip remains effectively hidden when the bag is being carried.
So what can we look forward to from Hyde & Hare over the coming months?
Piers wouldn’t give too much away, but we can look forward to a new chocolate colour option in the Arundell and Buckleigh clutches, as well as a brand new tote bag design. There are also plans afoot to launch another new bag, but details remain excitingly top secret for now so we will have to look out for announcements from Hyde & Hare in the coming months.