Each and every Fernweh piece is designed and sewn with the utmost care and attention in our Aberdeen studio by our founder Laura. We believe in doing things properly, creating well designed products from rugged, traditional fabrics and materials that will last a lifetime. Here's a bit about the fabrics and materials we use.
Waxed cotton canvas is a cotton that has been treated with wax to give a unique, water resistant finish. Over time and use, the fabric will mark and crease, but these markings are an inherent characteristic of the cloth. It means every bag is truly unique, adding to the antique, vintage feel of the product. Each mark becomes a memory of the adventures the bag has been on, continuously adapting characteristics from the wearer, becoming a visual memory of your own adventures. Waxed cotton can be rewaxed again and again, making it a durable cloth with longevity, but being a cotton, at the end of its lifespan it is biodegradable.
Waxed canvas has its history rooted in Scotland, in the North Sea fishing industry. It was derived from oilcloth and sailcloth, which fishermen coated with linseed oil and flax to weatherproof their sails from sea and storm alike. However, linseed yellowed and the cloth would stiffen, and so eventually it was found that coating cotton with wax gave a superior finish, and waxed cotton was pioneered.
The waxed cotton canvas we use here at Fernweh is sourced from Halley Stevensons in Dundee, Scotland, who have been manufacturing waterproofing textiles since 1864. Only an hour down the road from the Fernweh studio, Halley Stevensons are pioneers of waxed cotton and are leaders in waxed cotton innovation and we are proud to support the UK textile industry.
-As with all waxed canvas products, do not iron as this will cause the wax to melt.- Hand wash only with cold water and leave to dry away from natural light.
- If bag is particularly dirty, use a soft brush to wipe away excess dirt before cleaning, using a mild soap/detergent and cold water on more stubborn areas.
- As with all waxed products, re-wax every 6-12 months to restore waxed cotton to top condition.
- Look out for a re-wax tutorial coming soon to our Journal.
Read more about Halley Stevensons on their website
We use a mix of oak bark and vegetable tanned leather at Fernweh, vegetable tanned on our labels and oak bark for the straps.
Our leather is sourced from the last remaining oak bark tannery in Britain & uses a slow, zero waste process to tan each hide, which takes over a year from start to finish. Based in Devon, there's been a tannery on the site since the Roman era & it uses a 400 year old water wheel to power the tannery. The hides come from local beef cattle in Devon as a by-product of the meat industry which are then tanned using oak bark.
The oak bark is sourced from sustainably coppiced UK trees (coppicing is a woodland management method of cutting back trees to ground level to stimulate new growth). The bark is ground and mixed with water from the River Coly to create a tannin liquor and the hide is tanned in a pit for 3 months before being layered between oak bark for another 9 months, making the tanning process take a year for each piece of leather. It's simple, heritage process and creates beautiful, long lasting leather with minimal environmental impact, the used bark is even used in gardening!
Learn more about this slow, sustainable approach to tanning leather here
Buy less. Choose well. Make it last.