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How It’s Made: The Roots Varsity Jacket

It is important to know where things come from. To understand a product’s origins, and how it arrives in our hands, is to place value in what we own. In our ongoing series, we highlight the people and processes that help bring to life some of today’s most revered items. Consider it a backstage look at what it really takes to craft something truly exceptional.

What: Roots Leather Varsity Jacket

Who: Leo Ciccone, Leather Design and Development

The Factory

- “All of our leather jackets, handbags and some footwear are produced in this factory, located in the middle of Toronto. They’re made in Canada, and have been for TKTK years. It’s something that is very important to us.”

- “Innovation is important. We have state of the art cutting machines from Italy that help us cut bags and some components of the jackets. A lot if it has to do with craftsmanship and needs to be taught over the years. We rely a lot on the humanized touch for selecting the best part of a skin, cutting leathers a certain way and more.”

The Jacket

- “Our varsity jacket is our number one seller. It’s a very classic silhouette that’s still relevant today.”

- “DeMar has a reputation as a being a strong and silent type, which is what we tried to convey in the jacket. It’s minimalistic, but also loud in its own way with how we patched these amazing materials together. It speaks to his character.”

- Materials: brushed melton, suede, nylon, North American deerskin.

- “With the jacket, we’ve never done this type of design before with the patchwork. We knew we wanted a minimal and clean look, so we asked ourselves how we could play within that. We found the answer in using different textures.”

- “The beauty of leather is that you have your suedes, your full grain and so many other options. And, of course, you have the melton wools. It’s so iconic to us that we use it in our varsity jackets. We combined all of these elements from different aspects and put it into one jacket. Although it’s minimal, the textures help give it life.”

The chenille “R” on the chest is done by hand, trimmed by hand and placed by hand, all one by one. Each jacket is very special and individual.

The chenille “R” on the chest is done by hand, trimmed by hand and placed by hand, all one by one. Each jacket is very special and individual.

Fact Sheet

-       Original leather goods have been at the heart of Roots since the company was founded in 1973 with the creation of their iconic leather shoes.

-       Every Roots Genuine Leather product is made in their state-of-the-art factory in Toronto. The Kowalewski family, known for their leather craftsmanship, have been operating the factory since the company’s early days.

-       Currently, more than 200 craftspeople make Roots Genuine Leather products at their leather factory. Working in small teams, each product is checked by multiple people for quality to ensure standards are met.

Employees are able to learn a variety of different skills and oversee leather goods through the entire process from start to finish.

Employees are able to learn a variety of different skills and oversee leather goods through the entire process from start to finish.

Fashion, BusinessLance Chung