Hide and Seek: Meet our Craftspeople for London Craft Week 2024

This year is the tenth anniversary of London Craft Week (13–18 May).

To celebrate the milestone, Bentleys invited everyone we’ve had the pleasure of hosting in our shop to create a one-off capsule collection of leather goods sourced from across the globe. All hand stitched, all of the highest quality.

We sat down with the craftspeople involved to find out what makes them tick.
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MacGregor and Michael

Long time friends of Bentleys, Neil MacGregor and Valerie Michael have an international reputation as designers and makers of fine, high quality, hand-stitched leather goods.

They have been making by hand in an artisanal workshop in Tetbury, Gloucestershire, since 1974 and use only the best leathers.

Another craftsperson whose work Neil and Val admire:

"The late David Pye, woodcarver, woodturner, teacher and author."

A piece Neil is especially proud of:

"A bag I designed and made, called ‘Lidded Shoulderbag’, one of which is in the collection of Walsall Leather Museum."

A recommendation for fans of craftsmanship:

It was the Museum of Leathercraft which is now closed, so it’s a tie between the V&A in London, or the Deutsches Ledermuseum in Offenbach am Main, Germany.

A skill they’d like to perfect:

"Embroidery, particularly Quill Embroidery, using the quills of peacock feathers as practised in South Tyrol and in Nepal."

Their next place to visit:

"We would like to go to Japan to visit leatherworkers and shoemakers there, especially Fugee."

Shop MacGregor and Michael at Bentleys

Matthew Payne

Matthew Payne is a prize-winning saddler, harness and bridle maker boasting over thirty five years experience.

Working from a tranquil corner of Dartmoor, Devon, Matthew crafts specialist harnesses, saddlery and props for the film industry alongside bespoke commissions for Ralph Lauren, Alfred Dunhill and John Lobb (to name but a few).

A craftsperson whose work Matthew admires:

“The boat builder Colin Henwood.”

A piece he’s especially proud of:

“The bridle that won the Society of Master Saddlers Competition a couple of years ago. It will be on display at Bentleys throughout the week.”

A recommendation for fans of craftsmanship:

“The Royal Mews, Buckingham Palace.”

A new skill he’d like to perfect:


The next place to visit:


Keiichi Sugano

Founder of Aero Concept, Keiichi was born in Tokyo in 1951. His career as a craftsman began in a workshop inherited from his grandfather, designing components for companies such as Boeing and the world renowned Shinkansen bullet train.

 Keiichi’s use of vegetable-tanned leather and aircraft quality duralumin alloy ensures each case mellows with use but retains its strength. 

Our founder Tim tracked down Keiichi in 2006, having bought his card case from the Tokyo menswear mecca Isetan Men’s Store. Bentleys are now the sole European stockists for Keiichi’s luggage and leather accessories range.

While ten thousand hours is often considered the benchmark of mastery in Western cultures, to be considered a ‘Takumi’, or artisan, in Japan necessitates sixty thousand hours of continuous dedication to a single chosen craft. This amounts to thirty two years of service.

“The craftsmen I respect the most are my grandfather and father – I am who I am today because of the skills inherited from them. My role is to pass on technology to the next generation.”

Shop Aero Concept at Bentleys

Charlie Laurie

Drawing inspiration from his ancestor's 1800s saddlery business on Oxford Street, Charlie Laurie has created luxury leather goods under brand name Charles Laurie London for over twelve years. He has been awarded the Cockpit Arts Leatherseller’s award three times.

Charlie offers bespoke commissions alongside his mens and womens collections and we’re delighted to have his latest products on display for the week.

A craftsperson whose work Charlie admires:

“I really admire the work of Eleanor Lakelin who also had a studio at Cockpit Arts in Deptford. She creates incredible sculptures out of wood felled in the British Isles.”

A piece he’s especially proud of:

“A briefcase made for a very senior member of the Royal Family, crafted from beautiful dark green English Bridle leather.”

A recommendation for fans of craftsmanship:

“Not necessarily a museum or gallery but I highly recommend visiting Cockpit Arts Open Studios in either Summer or Christmas at both Deptford and Holborn. You can see all the very talented craftspeople in their own studio and have the opportunity to buy their products.”

A new skill he’d like to perfect:

“I would love to learn metalwork or blacksmithing at some point.”

The next place to visit:

“I would love to visit Japan as the Japanese have real love for craftsmanship.”

Riina Õun

A master glove-maker and regenerative material researcher, Riina launched her eponymous label Riina O in 2013 and crafts bespoke gloves for both men and women.

Graduating from Central St Martins with an MA in Material Futures, Riina runs her label alongside a busy schedule of research, masterclasses and material innovation.

Another craftsperson whose work Riina admires:

“It is hard to highlight just one among so many talented craftspeople. If I had to pick just one, it would be my friend and former mentor, footwear designer Caroline Groves.”

A piece she’s especially proud of:

“I would have to say a long pair of teal Hortencia leather gloves with bead and sequin embroidery from Riina O ‘Secret Jungle’ collection, which will be on display at Bentleys during London Craft Week.

Additionally, my research work with regenerative biomaterials, developing planet-friendly materials.”

A recommendation for fans of craftsmanship:

“The Wellcome Collection in London – it always offers unexpected inspiration!”

A new skill she’d like to perfect:

“3D-modelling programme and robotics.”

The next place to visit:

“I am going to the Berlin Design Week at the end of April to show some of my biodesign work – a conceptual footwear piece called ‘Walking on Eggshells’.

My next dream destination is Brazil, with its vibrant culture, mysterious rainforests and indigenous crafts.”