Label: Emil Erwin
Who: Emil and Leslie Congdon
Designs: leather bags and belts
Emil Congdon’s studio—filled with rows of sewing machines and stacks of leather scraps—is located in Marathon Village, a long-abandoned automotive plant that now houses several designer studios and shops, a distillery as well as Antique Archeology, the vintage collectibles shop run by Mike Wolfe, star of the History Channel’s hit show, American Pickers. Antique Archeology draws in the crowds, but it’s outfits like the Congdons’ that keeps the building cool. After collaborating with Imogene + Willie in 2010 on a limited edition bag that was sold—and sold out—at J.Crew, Emil Erwin was picked up by Barneys, and is currently the only Nashville-based designer on the department store’s roster. This season, Emil Erwin will launch its first collection of women’s bags.