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Lessons on Leather with Roots Canada


I was in desperate need of leather bag…

So I took to Twitter and Facebook and asked the #Toronto #Fashion community which brand they thought had the best quality leather products. No word of a lie, every single response came back with “Roots Canada hands down!” I checked out their website and flipped through their offerings for men. I got in contact with Laura their PR pro and set a date to meet at their flagship store in Yorkville.

I had actually been to the Roots store on Bloor Street this past winter for an event hosted by Ottawa Tourism which was perfect timing as I was just about to fly over on Porter Airlines to cover their Winterlude Festival and review a few of the capitals top restaurants.

I arrived at the store on an auspicious day, the company’s 39th anniversary! I took a quick tour of the double decker space and picked up the bag I felt would best suit my needs, Global Briefcase Tribe. Over the past year my life has changed considerably. A year ago today I would have considered myself a compulsive lifestyle blogging hobbyist running from one event, restaurant review and theatre opening to the next. Now as I run my own business I wanted to ensure I had a heavy duty, laptop friendly bag to hang on my hip. I have been using the Old School-tribe now at client meetings, restaurant reviews and press trips when I find myself zooming to and fro. You may just spot me on my bike peddling along College or Bay street with the bags fine Italian leather hugging my chest. I could not be more happy with this new addition to my life.

After chatting with Laura in the store we got talking more about Roots and their history of crafting fine leathered goods. The story I wanted to tell started to change, and ulitmately I ended up standing in the Roots Leafther Factory on one hot summer afternoon one week later.

We were given a tour by Roots Leather Expert, Karl Kowalewski over the course of the next hour. Original leather goods have been at the heart of Roots since their inception in 1973 when the company began by making leather shoes. It’s what first put Roots on the map. What I find so incredibly amazing is that Roots leather goods are all made by Canadians in a factory in Toronto (yes I said Canada, not China). It was so refreshing to walk through the bustling factory, past hundreds of smiling workers who gently sewed together wallets, hand bags and hiking boots.

Karl did a great job at showcasing Roots passion for hand crafted leather products. He was especially excited to showcase the company’s new Raw Leather bags which offer a wild array of colours and a casual design. He also affectionally rambled on about his love for fine Parisian leather and showed me a few new designs that are not yet available in stores.

Just before leaving the factory I chose a pair of leather shoes that would “pair” well with my new satchel (look at me I sound like I’m writing about wine). I instantly fell in love with the Roots Oxford-tribe which will be on my feet for the next hundred-or-so restaurants I eat at this Fall/Winter.

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