Handmade: Trevor Pickett on the art of artisan glove making
Not following trends is a point of pride for Trevor Pickett, founder of eponymous luxury leather goods brand Pickett. “Fashion trends purely impact our designs by colour,” he explains. Fiercely loyal to employing British artisans who practice traditional techniques, quality comes first at Pickett. And it is this commitment that is the secret to the brand’s enduring success. “Our products are made to last and there is a huge amount of care and attention that goes into making them,” says Pickett.
Although Pickett products are fashioned in the UK, the leathers come from all over the world to ensure they are the best because the quality of the leather used is of paramount importance to the finished item. “The pigskin leather comes from South America and the cape (lambskin) leather traditionally comes from the East Coast of Africa,” says Pickett. And although the company sells an array of products including handbags, briefcases and wallets, it is the gloves that best showcase the soft and supple quality of the leather.
Although glove-making doesn’t require many different processes, it demands great dexterity from the hands of the craftsmen. The process starts with hand-cutting the leather — normally lambskin, deerskin, pigskin or muttonskin — that takes a seasoned cutter 15 minutes to complete. Following this, the shaped leathers are hand-sewn together at which point the linings — usually silk or cashmere — are applied.
With the great advances in technology over the past few decades machine-stitching on gloves is often neater and more uniform. Despite this, Pickett gloves continue to be completely handmade using traditional methods, as the charm resides in the hand finishing that is most prominent on the fingers. “It is the hand-stitched lines and the contrast stitching that make handcrafted gloves look so good.”
Glove designs rarely change from season to season, year to year. “We’ve been making gloves for decades, so ongoing research isn’t really necessary,” says Pickett. For this reason, Pickett’s craftsmen rarely need to work from a design, as a simple sketch suffices to indicate an embellishment, an extra cuff or a turnback. “People now prefer a slightly longer glove and the trend for fur has recently increased. We only use rabbit fur though as it is a by-product of the meat industry,” he adds. However, there is a demand for gloves to evolve to suit the wearer’s needs, such as incorporating touchscreen-compatible fingers. Taking care to stay faithful to the traditional aesthetic of Pickett gloves, the result was achieved by incorporating a more textured touchscreen-compatible leather.
For a perfectly fitted pair, Pickett also runs a bespoke service. Not only does this service offer customers a choice of materials, linings, colours and finishes but it also takes palm and finger size into account. “A lot of people have, for example, cadet-sized hands (which means they have short fingers) or sometimes people need larger gloves to cope with arthritic hands,” explains Pickett.