The New York Times has a wonderful story on Alya Kazakevich a 28-year-old leather craftswoman and her custom leather craft shop a.b.k. Inspiring work seemingly from another era. From the article:
A.b.k Custom Leather Craft, Alya Kazakevich’s workshop cum store, is an otherworldly atelier in deepest Chinatown. (If you’ve ever ventured to Brown Café or Dispatch gallery, well, keep going.) Surrounded by potted plants, old sewing machines, vitrines of vintage belt buckles, and cool Russian military coats, sailor shirts and blankets sent to her by her parents in Belarus, the 28-year-old makes bags, shoes, belts and other leather goods by hand in full view of visitors, from tanning the leather with vegetable dye to stitching every seam and hammering each brass tack into the smooth soles of her made-to-order shoes.
Kazakevich opened the store in November, financing it with credit cards and tips. (During my visit, she worked in the unheated space in a hat and sweaters.) After deciding not to pursue a career in finance, she learned shoemaking from Barbara Shaum, the venerable leather worker whose Grecian sandals have been a fixture of East Fourth Street since the ’60s. (“It sounds very Daniel Day-Lewis,” she jokes.) While working as a manager at Pravda, she began making bags for Stock Vintage in her Bushwick apartment, followed by booties for the retro-accented Lyell — both fitting outlets for her not-of-this-decade designs.