One to Watch: LAYERxlayer

New Haven natives Leah Jane and Patrick James have been making things together since high-school, but it wasn't until recently that they formalized their collaborative design partnership with mixed-media design studio, LAYERxlayer.

"Even though we saw the potential in working with each other, it wasn't necessarily a conscious decision to work together. It sort of unfolded as we went along," explains Leah.

With Leah's background in industrial design and Patrick's experience in architecture, it's no surprise that the New York-based design duo approach their line of practical accessories and art objects from a position of "problem solving."

"[It starts] by identifying a problem that we face in our daily life that we'd like to solve," explains Patrick. Their signature Aleutian backpack, for example, is equally suited to urban-dwellers or outdoor adventurers, fashioned from waxed canvas and finished with practical pockets and various D-ring attachments.

Bags and luggage are a highlight of the LAYERxlayer collection, from the rugged utility totes to playful zipper pouches (our favorite of which features secret "notebook" pockets as well as a pocket knife holder and pencil slots).

This summer, however, Leah and Patrick will lend their eye for elegant solutions to furniture design as well as retail concepts, opening a flagship store and design workshop in their hometown of New Haven. "Our goal is to become active members of the community in order to create value with others and share meaningful experiences," says Leah. Thankfully for us New Yorkers, New Haven is just a short train-ride away.

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