Recently I did a show in Atlanta dubbed ” The Road 2 Fashion II. There was this one particular designer that just stood out to me. He had some of the most beautiful designs and pieces which were more like Artwork. Purses and backpacks and clothing all made of leather. The pieces were created with such care, detail and quality craftsmanship. So I just had to know his story. His name was Allen Stratton and he was from Philadelphia. Interesting I said and leaned in to learn more.
Allen Stratton, “The Leather King”, epitomizes the phrase “Self Made”.
This incredible self taught craftsman got his start at the age of 9, when he decided he needed to add his own personal signature to his wardrobe. Watching his mother, a seamstress, he learned to sew, thus creating a unique style and signature look that would later become his Trademark. Taking all the lessons and skills his mother taught him, Allen birthed “Astratton”
and launched his own leather product line in 1983.
This native Philadelphian now designs custom, handmade one-of-a-kind clothing for women and men. His goal is to dress the world in affordable, quality custom clothing that is timeless and effortlessly elegant. With a solid foundation of supportive family values and strong community ties the Astratton brand has become one of Philadelphias’ premier brands.
I then proceed to ask Allen my usual list of questions.
Blue Candies : What does fashion mean to you as a developing fashion designer?
Allen: ToMe fashion is one of life’s favors… everyone’s not bless to be able to participate in it.. fashion is art and everyone is not an artist but the great thing about art is everyone gets to admire it and that is what my passion is.. I intend on painting Street internationally with the canvas of my craftsmanship, design ,and art..,
Blue Candies : What interest you about fashion?
Allen: My primary interest in fashion is women’s all around attire and accessories I love to dress women up… I Love to See a woman wearing the designs that I made.. although I do design and make Fashion wear. . available for Everyone. . women are my primary goal..
Blue Candies : What don’t you like about fashion?
Allen: I wouldn’t say that I don’t like…… but to be honest I will say there is a stigma n people in the designer World. ..that a designer has to do or has to deal with what ever. ..i don’t see it that way . I’m not only a designer but I’m conscious so I make my decisions and I live with them.. everything after that is useless…
Blue Candies : Being a designer in the Urban Indie Fashion Industry in Philadelphia, what is your take on how you see it? Is there room for growth?
Allen: Being a Philadelphia designer is challenging. …for the average designer …… I am not the average I am the LeatherKing. ..most designs and Philly aren’t dealing with leather… most certainly aren’t making hand me leather bags… so far I have not had a…. challenge of keeping … up with … designers ….more so they have The challenge of keeping up with me..”..no pon…,
Blue Candies : Where did you get your inspiration for your Brand?
Allen: As for …branding) all my life had some type of hustle meaning entrepreneurial skills that i Illustrated in many business Ventures…So it was a no-brainer.. once I start to clinch on to my design skills…. for me to push.. this to a official level of business… thus… I started my brand
Blue Candies : How far would you like to see your Brand go?
Allen: International I can see women all over the world wearing Astratton leather bags and more
Blue Candies : What is the special thing about a design that catches your eye?
Allen: Originality and structure
Blue Candies : What advice would you give to someone looking to start their own fashion line?
Allen: Be patient and focus on having hands on everything that concerns your business while your business is in the building stage don’t leave it to anyone … solely make sure you have at least 51% of making the decisions
Blue Candies : Is there anyone you would like mention or thank in regards to you, who you are or your brand?
Allen: Yes my mother the biggest influence in the world not only to me but to many many many others everyone comes to pass my mother’s past leaves with a (valuable jewel) so I have a whole (big chest…) of her jewels which I used to pave the way that I am now Paving
I will definitely be keeping my eye on Mr. Stratton and getting me one of these bags.:)