Maven is now stocking some truly beautiful and functional leather goods made right here in Northern Ireland by Father's Father. We asked Jason Karayiannis, the man behind the brand, to give us an insight into the background of this very special, local company.
Tell us a little about yourself and what you do?
I’m a designer by trade working mostly with digital brands, User Interfaces and the like and I love telling their stories. But I also firmly believe that you can’t stay sane working behind a screen day in, day out so I have always had / needed a practical outlet for my creativity.
I set up Father’s Father to design beautifully functional hardwearing leather goods that could be used daily and were made to last a lifetime.
I wanted it to be local, to contribute to a very small and quickly disappearing leather industry in the UK and Ireland. It’s getting harder and harder to source materials, hardware and tools locally and that saddens me greatly. Once these skills go they are gone for good.
So it makes it even more exciting when you can do something. We are working on a range of belts that are entirely local.The leather is sourced from an English tannery (it’s amazing) and the buckles are solid brass cast in Birmingham. They are cut, punched and finished by myself right here in Belfast. Even the bee’s wax used to seal them is locally sourced.
Where did the name ‘Father’s Father’ come from?
I grew up hearing a story my father would tell, when he was in his early twenties he went backpacking around his parent’s home island (Samos, Greece), and whilst walking around one of the villages an old man stopped him and called him by name. (He was named after his grandfather and looked very similar at the same age). Confused my Father asked him whether he knew him or not and the old guy pointed down to his shoes and stated that my great grand-father had made the shoes for him many many years before and they were still the best shoes he owned.
It’s the beauty of that story that really inspired me to start the brand, the history, the craft. That when made correctly, a simple pair of shoes can last a lifetime. Telling their story. It’s that heritage I wanted to honour. I want the goods I craft to be a legacy that will one day tell their own stories. Spreading inspiration from generation to generation.
As I started digging further I found out that not only was my great grand-father a cobbler but my other great grand-father was a tanner and that’s how my Father’s Father met my grand-mother. Father’s Father seemed to sum it all up and let the brand tell its own story.