- Buyer's Guide
5 Minutes with Farrah Design
Tom Farrah formed Farrah Design as a means of creating beautiful and durable items that achieve their design through manipulating the materials with minimal sewing or cutting in order to maintain strength and a distinct and clean aesthetic. Keen for further insight on this Australian-based brand, we snagged 5 minutes with this leather and canvas enthusiast to chat design insights and inspirations, as well as new pieces on the way…
What key insights drive your stuff?
I guess taking a step back and really trying to think about a material and its potential, and how a material can be pushed further in its application. My father is an industrial designer who has greatly influenced my work – early on, I remember him showing me an RM Williams elastic-sided boot, demonstrating how the different materials simply worked together. Dad has always worn RM’s – and now I find myself in the same shoe. The fact that the upper is made from one piece of leather is key to its longevity. There are no seams on areas that experience large ranges of movement or stress, the only seam is one running vertically up the back of the shoe following the Achilles. It was Reg Williams and a guy called “Dollar Mick” who actually developed the shoe. They spent so long trying to make a boot from one piece of leather, they pushed and pushed and finally got there. It was a difficult process but the result is an example of elegance through simplicity.
Longevity and durability really motivate my ideas as well. My designs all stem from a desire to make things that we will use for our whole lives – and those things need to have the endurance to last that whole time. Designing enduring aesthetics and applications that will be relevant for a whole lifetime is a primary consideration for me – this fuels my penchant for traditional materials like leather and canvas. Oh and Swiss military gear, the beauty that stems from attacking the design problem from the functional and production end first rather than the aesthetic side delivers a unique and strong look every time. I really enjoy the mix of leather, canvas and steel as base materials and the way they can be thrust together but work in harmony.
Who else is doing rad things in the world of carry and why do you think they’re important?
Bill Amberg – the man is a master! His design sense is so clean, but he also achieves great function. Bill’s custom-designed fittings give a really unique aesthetic. Tailfeather are another group doing awesome work – really strong, smooth design, and their craftsmanship is outstanding. They also design some of their own hardware.
Are there any things other brands do that you think are great or could be improved?
Anybody who is getting their ideas out there is great in my mind, especially those concentrating on items that are functional, made to last and beautiful. To me that’s the design trifecta.
What’s next for you guys?
I am currently in the final stages of testing a large Swiss military-inspired duffle bag, a canvas and leather weekender, a briefcase and clutch purse.
What do you carry daily and how?
Of course I always carry my handstitched Farrah wallet and always have my Ideas Factory notebook cover on hand but if I’m heading away for the weekend nothing goes past the Swiss ‘salt and pepper’ backpack. Mine is from 1968 and carried my gear along the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu last year without a hitch.