Founded in 2003, Jekyll & Hide is a bespoke leather fashion brand based in the seaside town of Cape Town, South Africa. With a dedication to timeless leather craft and design, the Jekyll & Hide team travels far and wide across South America, Asia, Africa and Europe to source the finest leather the world has to offer.
Travelling Mystery Guest recently had the opportunity to chat to Bernard Bultemeier, the founder of Jekyll and Hide, about his opinion on travel trends and what to look forward to from them.
New products have to keep up with the modern techno lifestyle. According to Bernard, laptop bags are the most popular modern techno product.
“As people’s lifestyle changes (working from coffee shops, on-the-go, etc.) the use of functional business and laptop bags has become a big part of our business.”
Jekyll & Hide’s laptop bags are very functional and are created for the modern business person. They have built in padded laptop pockets, RFID protected cell phone- and wallet sleeves and multiple compartments for diaries and iPads. Jekyll & Hide adapts their laptop bags to the size of laptop screens so that one can shop a product that suits your computer perfectly.
According to Bernard, dual-purpose products like the laptop backpack, or the cross-body bag which can carry a tablet will eventually replace conventional handbags. “As our lifestyles change (we commute to work on bikes or on public transport) the need for practical and well-designed products is key. With the increase in cell phone use, people now don’t have a free hand to carry a bag because they’re constantly on the phone. With multipurpose backpacks, you can carry all the essentials while still cycling and using the phone at the same time. Backpacks are also better for your posture (if worn properly). People are becoming conscious of the way they walk and move. Standing desks, yoga and Pilates are all big trends so the more we can do to help with this lifestyle, the better.”
Leather bag colours change as the seasons and trends do, however, Jekyll & Hide try to keep a traditional feel to their products. They focus on items and colours that are lasting and as coloured leathers are very easy to fake and it’s a lot harder to produce a real-leather looking piece in natural colours, Jekyll and Hide’s traditional colours are a clue of the quality and authenticity of the brand.
Jekyll & Hide’s Oxford travel bags are probably their most iconic and recognisable products. The Oxford range is also their best seller with its classic look that never seems to go out of style.
At first, we thought that the brand was named after the 1886 detective novel by Robert Louis Stevenson. We now found out that the brand actually has nothing to do with the novel. “Some people remember the name, Jekyll and Hide, but can’t pinpoint where from, so there’s often an existing connection with new customers but they don’t really know why. The word hide comes from the leather hides we use and Jekyll just had a nice ring to it and was nice and different from all the Italian style names that launched into the market at the time.”
Jekyll & Hide tries to bring a bit of colour and design into the lining of their bags instead of the actual outer design. Funky colours and patterns are seen when one opens a bag or purse which is always a welcoming surprise. They aren’t necessarily bringing in local South African designs (as it’s a global brand) but they do bring in trending patterns like the Aztec look of the Ndbele range. Jekyll & Hide tries not to box the products into a tourist category, though, so they just use very subtle pops of local or trending elements.
Jekyll & Hide is now also expanding into other fabrics. They’re creating a canvas backpack for example that still has a lot of leather elements in, but they’re starting to mix materials. They also have a travel bag with poly carbon elements.
“We try and create products that are light and make life easier, which means being open to other developments and materials. We’ll always bring through the luxury leather elements of the brand, but we’re no longer focused on 100% leather items.”