Coach has come full-circle with the introduction of its ‘Heritage Baseball‘ collection, creating a limited-edition collection of men’s wallets from vintage baseball gloves. While the brand is now famous for its high-end women’s handbags, the collection hearkens back to Coach’s original inspiration.
Coach was originally founded in 1941 as Gail Manufacturing Company. Gail Manufacturing was a family-run business that made small leather goods, mostly wallets and billfolds. It wasn’t until Miles Cahn came along in the early 1950s that Coach started making women’s handbags. Cahn was the owner of a leather handbag manufacturing business– and a big baseball fan. He drew inspiration for his handbags from the leather used in baseball gloves, noticing that with wear, the leather in a baseball glove grew increasingly soft and supple:
Following this model, Cahn devised a way of processing leather [for handbags] to make it strong, soft, flexible, and deep-toned in color, as it absorbed dye well… A number of women’s handbags were designed to supplement the factory’s low-margin wallet production. The purses, given the brand name Coach, were made of sturdy cowhide, in which the grain of the leather could still be seen, instead of the thin leather pasted over cardboard that was used for most women’s handbags at the time. This innovation marked the company’s entry into the field of classic, long-lasting, luxury women’s handbags that Coach would come to define. [via]
The Coach team spent a year finding vintage baseball gloves (70+ years old) on eBay, and have made 200 one-of-a-kind (stamped for authenticity) wallets for the collection. Each wallet, priced at $348, is made from ~1.5 baseball gloves.
Click through the images below to see the designs: