A while back, they mentioned local denim connoisseurs Matt and Carrie Eddmenson, whose artisan jean shop Imogene + Willie (that we can't stop raving about) made their list of 21 Southerners to watch back in their August/Sept. issue.
This issue, they rave about East Nashville leather goods label Emil Erwin, whose handmade leather and canvas bags have sold at Imogene + Willie. They've also been sold through J. Crew, which recently featured pieces from both artisans' line in a recent men's campaign, and now they're the "Style" winner for the mag's "Made in the South" Awards.
CATEGORY WINNER, STYLE
Product: Canvas and leather bags
Made in: Nashville, TN
Like some sort of multitasking superhero, Emil Congdon—a thirty-year-old husband and father of two—works by day as a salesman for Dell computer in Nashville, but on nights and weekends, he has a second life. “I have this detached garage at the house,” he says, “and that’s where my workshop is.” Congdon makes each elegantly simple Emil Erwin bag by hand, using rich, heavy leather, waxed canvas, or both. It hasn’t taken long for the bags to attract a national following, including a starring role in the J.Crew men’s boutique in New York, for a bag Congdon designed with the Nashville blue-jean atelier Imogene + Willie. “I guess I get my inspiration from my grandfather’s workshop, back out in the country,” Congdon says. “I spent a lot of time there. Everything inside that shop was made in that American tradition: very practical, very sturdy. I make each bag myself. I get my hands dirty. I’m always thinking, If I can’t do it right, I won’t do it at all. With every bag, that’s what’s on my mind.”