Fred Eisen, owner of Fred Eisen Leather and Art Knives in New Hope, has been in the leather business for nearly his whole life, designing and making some of the finest leather bags, briefcases, purses, belts, apparel, and accessories.
“I started doing leatherwork as a hobby when I was 12 and it ended up paying for college,” says the Brooklyn native, who studied art, design and architecture at Southern Illinois University.
Fred opened his first store in Brooklyn Heights in 1978, where he grew an enthusiastic following. In 1989, he moved his shop to New Hope and has been here ever since.
“I’ve always liked New Hope; it has a real positive energy,” says Fred.
Self-motivated and self-taught, Fred began to craft equestrian products as a kid, studying the history of leatherwork and fashion and working many jobs over the summers honing his skill. With a focus on beauty, function, and durability, Fred’s leather designs are timeless.
For years, Fred has also collected knives and crafted custom leather knife sheaths for fine blade smiths and collectors around the world. This inspired a whole new artknives.com website, which features knives that are available to customers.
“Being a leather craftsman for 40-plus years and having delved into the history of leatherwork and the tools of the trade has provided a natural progression into knives,” says Fred.
Fred Eisen Leather also features the work of other fine leather craftsmen and designers.
“It’s hard to find any other craft with the artistic and functional integrity of our contemporary generations of blade smiths and knife makers,” says Fred.
The shop’s current hours are seven days a week from 11:00am through 6:00pm, with extended weekend hours through December. The shop is located at 85 South Main Street in New Hope. For more information, call 215-862-5988 or visit fredeisenleather.com/.
PHOTO CAP: Fred Eisen (right) in his shop with belt maker Lea Nelson.