Blending a handcrafted, bespoke sensibility with exceptional materials and timeless design, new Bay Area accessory brand Society of Mode is ushering in a new breed of rarefied luxury.
If countless people carry the same bag, can it truly be special? “I read a very intriguing article that stated nearly 80% of luxury clients in Japan already owned the top luxury bags,” says Kate Watts. “It occurred to me that if everyone at that level is buying the same bag, there’s room to create luxury at that level that’s completely unique and a brand-new concept.” Watts put that realization to work with the recent launch of Society of Mode, the San Francisco-based artisanal slow-luxury brand of fine leather bags and accessories.
All made to order in limited editions of 12, each piece in the collection is crafted locally by an Hermès-trained master artisan from handselected and dyed-to-order leather and individually made precious metal hardware.
“Growing up in England, I’ve always loved the traditional service you’d get on Savile Row,” Watts explains. “I wanted to see if I could translate that to a contemporary format.”
Although the three thoughtfully designed vintage-inspired styles—which take three months to complete, with 70 hours devoted to construction alone—are set, small tweaks can be made. And those craving something truly unique can spring for the one-of-a-kind In Camera Edition, designed for them exclusively. “It’s a very different experience from walking into a store and taking a bag home,” says Watts. “This bag is literally made explicitly for you as a client.”