European Leather Boutique Opens First U.S. Location in Downtown Birmingham

Published October 2015, dbusiness.com. 

Fratelli Leather, a European upscale boutique offering leather and other apparel as well as accessories made in Italy and Poland, has opened its first location in the United States with a storefront in downtown Birmingham.

“We searched for places that can appreciate the European design and fashion, and Birmingham meets all of Fratelli Leather’s criteria,” says Kasha Kowal, co-owner of Fratelli Leather.

The Birmingham store, located at 303 E. Maple Rd., features men’s and women’s leather jackets, shoes, handbags, belts, luggage, and fur. The boutique carries its own in-house label, Fratelli, as well as pieces from Valentino, Franko Armondi, Carbotti, Egon von Furstenberg, and more.

The products, which are made from various skins and hides such as lamb, anaconda, crocodile, and fox fur, can run anywhere from $200 for shoes to $4,000 for a coat.

“When people are visiting our store and looking (at the products) they’re saying ‘I can’t believe its leather,’” Kowal says. “It’s totally different. It’s very soft, very thin, and the highest quality.”

Displaying a limited amount of each product at a time, the 1,300-square-foot store is furnished with crystal chandeliers, a tufted sofa, hardwood floors, and quartz countertops.

Kowal, who has been with the company since 1996, travels to Milan, Florence, Rome, Venice, Istanbul, and Warsaw to personally pick out items for the shop.

“By traveling I can pick up the best designs and bring them to our store,” Kowal says. “I also meet interesting people that I draw inspiration from.”

There are 30 Fratelli Leather boutiques across Europe. After opening in Birmingham, the company has plans to open an online shop and storefronts in Chicago and New York.

A grand opening event will be held Oct. 22 at the new Birmingham location.

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