Elaine Dobson, founder of Tahlia Leather, handcrafts bespoke Leather Coats, Jackets and Accessories made from lambskin which is sourced from the Emerald Isle, England and Wales.
Her passion, eye for luxury and commitment to overseeing the entire process from ‘farm to fashion’ ensures that her merchandise is of the highest quality. Here, we talk to Elaine about fashion, fragrance and family.
When Elaine married into the Dobson family, her father-in-law Jack Dobson asked whether she would be interested in making luxury jackets using Irish & British lambskin from his Tannery business. Elaine accepted the offer. She currently works from a beautiful studio designed by interior designer, Kris Turnbull, outside Moira, Co Armagh.
Prior to this, Elaine worked in a corporate environment for over 30 years. She also worked in fashion with her sister in Henley on Thames; Elaine and her sister Katherine were trained by one of Harrods first buyers.
'‘Tahlia would like to continue to make luxury products that also serve the purpose of protecting the environment’
Elaine flies to Istanbul several times a year to design and oversee the manufacturing of the collections from beginning to end. She chooses a warm colour palette inspired by the beautiful Irish countryside.
The final products travel back to Ireland where Elaine sells directly to customers. These few, simple processes make it possible to trace the leather to source. This is a mark of quality that so much of today’s mass-produced leather lacks.
“We have ethical standards in place with which our suppliers comply, ensuring that their workforce and working conditions are not just legally compliant but are also fair, responsible and sustainable.”
In the spirit of zero waste, Elaine sells leather to designers and craftsmen who use them in book binding, millinery and other creative endeavours.
Ethical Fashion Brand
As an ethical fashion brand, Tahlia would like to continue to make luxury products that also serve the purpose of protecting the environment.
In the winter of 2019, STORIES Parfums was part of a fashion show organised by Tahlia Leather. The event aimed to showcase luxury brands alongside Tahlia’s AW/19 collection. Over 100 women enjoyed a champagne high tea in the iconic Merchant Hotel Belfast while models walked the catwalk and beauty providers sold their wares.
“The fashion shows are a great experience, but hard work. Meeting new and current clients at the shows is always beneficial, it gives me inspiration to create the next collection as I am led by what the client wants.”
Aside from her love of leather, Elaine is passionate about scent and its ability to conjure memories and positive feelings.
“Smells like cut grass, turf, gorse and bramble take me back to days on my Grandad’s farm. They are such positive associations and are very much connected to what I do now.”
“It’s so beautiful for this time of the year.”
If you would like to invest in one of the jackets from the Tahlia Collection, follow Tahlia Leather on Instagram and Facebook.