The craftsman behind your bag


Le gars leathercraft holding a leather messenger bag in front of him

“Le Gars” literally means “the dude.” I am the dude in question. My name is Baptiste Le Gars, and every product you see here was handcut and handsewn by me, either in my little home studio in Montreal, Quebec, or on the road.

I’m a sensitive Frenchman and autodidact whose greatest pleasure is to meet new people, learn new things, and explore new places. In 2013 I left my native France and began to travel, moving through Europe and the Americas with a backpack and a beat-up tent. I’d been wandering for three years when I met my partner, now my wife, in a small town in southern Colombia, and for five years when I discovered leatherwork. In other words, travel has brought me all the loves of my life.

For some time before I came to my leathercraft, I made accessories out of old skateboards and bicycle innertubes. I had a degree in psychology, but I knew I wanted to move out of the mind and do manual work. In Mexico City, I finally discovered the feel of a hide in my hands, the meditative movement of saddle-stitching, the satisfaction of creating something so durable that it would surely outlast me. I made my first knapsack there, a Christmas gift for my wife, Hillary, and I’ve never looked back. Now it seems I have a flourishing business, something I could never have imagined and that I still sometimes have a hard time believing.

The things I make reflect the way that I live. They’re simple in design, practical, and strike a balance between masculine and feminine energies. There are no bells and whistles here: if I’ve chosen a particular buckle, it’s because it’s easy to open and close. My priorities are durability, sustainability, efficiency, and universality. I don’t want to contribute to the throw-away economy, to produce goods that’ll fall apart or lose relevancy and wind up in a landfill. I create pieces that you’ll only need to buy once, often out of leather that’s been tanned using plants rather than heavy metals. They’re entirely handstitched with the highest quality thread and come with a lifetime warranty. And they’re intended for all genders and all ages, because different kinds of people are my favorite kinds of people.

 Hillary is from Montreal, and we now spend a large part of every year in and around that city. I’ve also built myself a leather travel pack, so that I can work as we continue to explore. In the past couple of years, I’ve set up makeshift studios on picnic benches, on strips of sand, in open fields, in empty parking lots. I’m so grateful to have found this craft, which wonderfully mirrors my lifestyle and principles, and to everyone who has supported me on this long journey. Thank you for visiting me here; hope you enjoy!

—Baptiste Le Gars