33 Journal: Kumanokoido x Moore & Giles

An heirloom-quality leather bear constructed in collaboration with the Brooklyn-based brand.

We recently combined forces with Brooklyn-based brand Kumanokoido to collaborate on a project that was strikingly different from any of our other offerings: Suede Bears. We first heard of Kumanokoido from our Director of Design, Thomas Brennan. We caught up with Thomas to learn more about the unique project.

MG: How did you come across the brand?

TB: One of my favorite shops to visit every time I’m in New York is Nepenthes. In addition to the perennially cool house line Engineered Garments, the space plays host to ever-rotating work by local artists. Paintings, photos, masks, tools: I’ve seen a lot of great stuff there. A few years back I noticed Kumanokoido’s beautiful bears around the shop. Every season, Junichi Nakane (the man behind Kumankoido) used fabric from the Engineered Garments collection to create his bears, a playful complement to the clothes. I reached out to Junichi who, miraculously, generously, and enthusiastically, agreed to attempt leather bears for us.

MG: What intrigued you about the bears?

TB: For starters, the bear is just cute: the point of the nose, the soft protruding belly, the puffy ears, and the charmingly pigeon-toed feet. All of these features are the result of deceptively sophisticated multi-paneled construction. On top of that, Junichi makes every bear by hand. He started making the bears as a side project to raise money to provide fresh water wells to several West African villages he visited in 2011. Heirloom-quality objects handmade by a kind and altruistic artisan? It wasn’t a hard sell.

MG: Why did you want to collaborate with him? 

TB: I always try to keep an eye out for interesting ways to use our leather. I love the way our material adds to the bear and what the bear adds to our material. The juxtaposition of the playful, nostalgia-filled shape of the bear with luxury leather showcases the appealing mix of quality, uniqueness, and enjoyment that I want all Moore & Giles products to contain.

MG: Describe the design process that took place.

TB: Junichi had never worked with leather. So there was an interesting few months of material problem-solving where we tried to find leather that was both thin enough and soft enough for him to use. Once we had our leather (the soft, supple French nubuck suede Dauphine), Junichi began sampling different parts of the bear to determine what aspects of his normal process needed revision. We ultimately decided to scale the bear up to a slightly larger size to make construction a little easier. The Dauphine color palette is spectacular, so color selection was a breeze. There’s not a bad color in the lot and they all pair perfectly with each other. The muted colors only add to the sophistication of the finished product. The result is the nicest bear you will ever see.

Shop the leather Kumanokoido bears:

[adhoc-collection products=”9391″ coolgrid=”true”]