Handcrafted Leather Bags - An Article By Nanna Bachmand Jensen

I've wanted to share this article for a long time that talented Nanna Bachmand Jensen, did about me a couple of years ago.

I belive that most people finds it a bit wired to read something about themselves. And honestly, I had to have my mom to read it out loud to me as i was a little shy, i think, to read to on my own.

But here it comes.
The concept of my brand have changed i little since. Something I'm very proud of, and something I'll get back to another good time.. :)
-But the passion will always stay exactly the same.

Handcrafted Leather Bags

By Nanna Bachmand Jensen


Palmerston_ is a Danish brand providing it’s costumers with high quality, handcrafted leather bags. Maria Palmerston is the founder and woman behind the brand. IKON met Maria for a chat and a cup of coffee on a sunny afternoon in Copenhagen, Denmark.


Maria Palmerston

Even on a day filled with sunshine, Maria Palmerston still manages to challenge the sun with her bright smile as she enters Riccos coffee shop in inner Copenhagen. You don’t need a psychology degree to immediately be able to tell that Maria is one of those women you instantly enjoy being around. Friendly, smiling, hugging, laid back, and of course extremely talented. That talent is obvious when examining her bags. Picking a favourite between one of her many designs is like only being able to pick one scoop of ice cream when you like chocolate, strawberry, lemon sorbet and caramel equally. What we have here is definitely a bag designer to watch.

Settling with an enormous chocolate bun, cucumber infused water, a latté and an Americano the interview can begin.


It Was Really Ugly

According to Maria Palmerston, it all started when she was a little kid. Her mother, who still works with clothing and sales, used to bring home items from her job and as Palmerston recalls how she would observe her mother sorting all the clothing, a big smile starts spreading across her face. It was because of these afternoons that Maria Palmerston decided that she wanted to become a fashion designer. Young Palmerston began to design and sew her own clothes that she proudly wore to school. “It was really ugly!” Palmerston tells, covered in that kind of smile you pull off when you’re a little embarrassed, in this case embarrassed of a younger self. “But I think it has made a big impact on me and the way I work today,” she continues, “that my parents ‘allowed’ me to be ugly”. Maria Palmerston’s parents never told her that she wasn’t allowed to wear what she designed herself and that support from her family has now resulted in a very confident young designer who never gave up experimenting with designing.


A big sip of coffee with a bite of her chocolate bun and Maria Palmerston continues to recall her story.


As a young teenager, Maria Palmerston’s mother began to bring her daughter to a place in Jutland, Denmark called Læderiet. Læderiet is a retailer in leather, fur, sheepskin and more. Instantly the materials drew the young teenage girl’s attention, especially the leather. Soon enough, Maria Palmerston began to organize her own trips to Læderiet. This was the time Maria Palmerston began to realise that becoming a fashion designer maybe wasn’t her dream after all and instead she began to design and create bags of the materials she would gain from her many visits at Læderiet.

As a designer, Maria Palmerston has an admirable respect for leather as a material and the idea of using a [sewing] machine to craft her designs is not a desirable solution for the determined designer. “The leather deserves to be treated in hand, stitched by handcraft,” Maria Palmerston explains, “It [the leather] develops and grows as a part of a natural process and deserves to be worked with, and treated in hand, naturally” she elaborates.

Despite her strong attitude when it comes to treating her materials in a proper way, Maria Palmerston admits that one day, depending on how her brand will develop, sewing machines might be a necessity.


Adventurous London

In August 2013, Maria Palmerston finished what would be the Danish version of college (gymnasium) and decided to move to London with her boyfriend. One of Maria Palmerston’s first professional experiences in London was an internship at Ashley Williams London. Ashley Williams is a young standout London based designer. With an undeniable seriousness in her eyes, Palmerston explains, “It was hard work. Really hard! I didn’t get paid but I learned a lot”. One of the most important things Maria Palmerston found out during her internship was, that her previous thoughts about not becoming a fashion designer after all still happened to be exactly what she felt after experiencing the world of being a fashion designer close up.

Maria Palmerston looks down at the chocolate bun and she’s not the only one. It’s one of those buns that would look good even without chocolate, so the fact that it’s stuffed with dark chocolate chips and is tripled the size of a normal bun just makes it even more irresistible for the eye, and with her chocolate covered fingers and a friendly smile, Maria Palmerston successfully signals that she is offering a bite of her bun. A couple of bites, sips and a few chocolate covered fingers later, Maria’s story continues.


“I needed a break after that”, Palmerston states with her eyes wide open to indicate that she really needed a break and by that she doesn’t mean the interview she means the internship. After a well-deserved break from the fashion world, Palmerston got a job for Gant Rugger. During her time for Gant, a friendly colleague took Maria Palmerston to a place in London that turned out to be an important coincidence for the young designer’s future career. The place reminded Maria Palmerston of Læderiet from her hometown and after six packed months as a fashion intern, with no left over time to even think about her own projects, Maria Palmerston finally felt the urge to start designing her bags again.

After working at Gant Rugger for six months, Maria Palmerston became a part of the first HAY team in London. HAY is a Danish retailer in contemporary furniture, accessories and rugs. Throughout Palmerston’s time for HAY, the passion for designing and creating leather bags really began to grow inside the young designer and when her contract with HAY expired Maria Palmerston decided to move back to Denmark where she is now studying Textile Design at The Royal Danish Academy for Fine Arts.


To School or Not to School

Even though Maria Palmerston is a Textile Design student at the moment, there are areas within the fashion and design industry she is now a part of where she prefers not to be schooled. Everything Maria Palmerston knows about designing and working with leather is knowledge she’s gained on her own, mostly from experience by experimenting and she likes it exactly like that. “I feel free when I make my bags and I don’t want to be schooled in that specific area,” Maria Palmerston clarifies with determination in her voice. When Maria Palmerston prepares for her design process, buys her leather and other materials, designs the bags, creates the bags and sells the bags, it’s all a one-man process. It takes a long time, “but I love it!” Maria Palmerston says enthusiastically, ”I have such a strong and specific idea of exactly how I want my brand to be.”  In saying this, she is not only talking about the final look of her leather products, she means the entire creative process behind them.

To Maria Palmerston, the quality of the materials means a lot and as a token of respect for the leather, she adds great value in making sure that the manufacturing process is handled as naturally as possible and always in hand. “I could buy a sewing machine for leather...” Maria explains “…but as it is right now, I want my bags to be handcrafted, even though it takes a long time.”


A Non-Statement Bag

 Surrounded by numerous handcrafted leather bags, all of them timeless beauties made in high quality leather, the glory of the chocolate bun is now dramatically fading. Observing Maria Palmerston examining one of her bags as she describes its details is far more fascinating than the bun. “Here is the only logo on the bag,” she says while holding a little leather strap so the brand name ‘Palmerston_‘ appears on it, “it is the only sign that the bag is made by me [Palmerston_], and it is removable.”

Maria Palmerston’s aim is not to provide her costumers with so-called statement bags, covered in shouting full-size logos and prints. “No statements” she says with a firm tone in her voice, “just an amazing bag in amazing quality.”


To keep the quality of all the materials up to date, Maria Palmerston visits Première Vision in Paris two times a year. Première Vision is an exhibition where the six major industries that are supplying materials and services to the global fashion industry come together in Paris, to exhibit their products. In between the more than 1900 exhibitors, Maria Palmerston spends hours to find the perfect suppliers for her designs. “I am probably what you would call a nerd,” she says with a with a geeky smile and continues “but that to me is a good thing!”


There is no doubt, that Maria Palmerston appreciates ‘nerding’ with her designs and materials, and luckily the future holds many possible opportunities for the young designer and her brand. But Palmerston is a considerate young woman when it comes to the topic of expanding her business. “I need objective specialist who will understand my visions” Maria Palmerston states, “and they are very hard to find”.