The TEll// By Thrift & Tell

Welcome to THE TELL//BY THRIFT & TELL: a celebration of fashionable women who dress as smart as they shop.

This week’s guest on THE TELL// is Rae Liu: co-founder and creative director of Leatherology. Prior to launching her direct to consumer leather goods company, Rae worked as Accessory Development Manager at Alexander Wang and was instrumental in the launch of the brand’s handbag and shoe lines. Leatherology’s brand mimics Rae’s simple yet refined aesthetic. Rather than big logos, Leathology products features hand painted, fully customizable initials, stripes, and more. In her closet, Rae mixes accessible brands like Target and Cos with The Row and Celine. Like many of us, Rae loves a good deal but also provides some tips below to be thoughtful when faced with a great (or seemingly great) sale. I am so happy to welcome such a talented entrepreneur to The Tell and look forward to welcoming many more inspiring women to the series. Stay tuned!

Interview with Rae Liu, Founder of Leatherology

//Your style in 3 words: Easy, Everyday, Luxury

//Staple Outfit: Jeans and a t-shirt or button-up

//Style Icon(s): Sofia Coppola, Jane Birkin 

//Your First Big Purchase: A Botkier Trigger bag in 2004. This was a huge purchase for me at the time and I used my savings from my first job.

//Do You Still Have It? Yes, it’s in my closet … somewhere.

//Best Fashion Advice You Ever Received: Buy what fits you now, not what you hope will fit you in the future.

//Types of clothing you invest in: Classic pieces like cashmere coats and well-tailored blazers.  And accessories too, of course!

//Types of clothing you save on: Basics like t-shirts, underwear, jeans, etc.

//Your greatest extravagance: Sleep.  Also La Mer.

//Brands That Will Stand the Test of Time: Chanel

//Favorite High Street Brands: Club Monaco, Cos, Zara , Target, Sezane, MGemi

//Favorite Designer Brands: Proenza, Co, The Row, Sandy Liang, Old Celine

//Favorite High-Low Brands to Mix: Everything from the lists above.

//Favorite Places to Shop Consignment: Ina in NYC, The Real Real

//Favorite Places to Consign Your Own Closet: I don’t! I’m too sentimental. If I really love something, I hold on to it or I give it someone who I know will love it too. If I don’t, I donate it.

//Currently Collecting Dust in the Back of your Closet: My wedding dress.

//Your Closet Tried and Trues: My favorite pair of jeans and a blazer from The Row.  Also my Leatherology bags, they are super versatile and wear well.

//Best investment you ever made in your style: A great haircut. Confidence is everything.

//Style Choice From Your Past That Haunts You: Pretty much anything I wore between 1995-2005.

//“It seemed like a good idea at the time” a.k.a Purchase you most regret: Probably 75% of the things I’ve ever purchased at the Barney’s warehouse sale, Neiman Marcus Last Call, sample sales, and the sale rack in general.  Usually I end up with designer high heels that seem like a great idea at the time but end up being too uncomfortable or impractical to actually wear. Sales can be wonderful, but it takes a lot of discipline to shop wisely and not impulsively.

//Closet From Which You Would Like to Borrow: Gwenyth Paltrow

//Last Time You Splurged? I recently bought some artwork I love from British artist Sarah Ball.

//Currently Saving Your Pennies For: Childcare, it’s no joke.

//A Deal for the History Books/Your T&T Personal Best: A mid-century slatted wooden bench I got for $20 at a flea market 

//Trend you wish would go way? Fringe

Interview with Rae Liu, Founder of Leatherology

Interview with Rae Liu, Founder of Leatherology

//Advice to someone looking to define their own style: Wear what suits you, don’t let your clothes wear you.  Also, it’s probably on sale for a reason.  

//You feel great. What are you wearing? Pajamas

//Occasions when you splurge: Beautifully made investment pieces.

//Occasions when you save: Anything I can rent instead, now that I am using Rent the Runway Unlimited.

//Most prized possession: My children.

//Home Decor Style: Modern, clean, comfortable, minimal

//Favorite place to hunt for home decor: Mercado Benito Juarez in Oaxaca, everywhere in Copenhagen, the Design District in Dallas, and Chelsea Antiques Garage in NYC. Also Mauerpark flea market in Berlin is amazing, I’ve only been once but I wanted to fill an entire container and ship it back to the US.

//Go-to for unique items, whether it be clothing, accessories, home or art: Artsy, eBay,
One Kings Lane, Chairish.

//Your fashion motto: Dressed is better than perfect.

//Your life motto: Done is better than perfect. (I’m a perfectionist, so this is what I have to tell myself sometimes to move forward!)

Fill in the blank:

//A woman should invest in- herself. //You’re never too old to— try something for the first time. //A woman can never have too much— face cream. //Bury me in- memories. // True or False: More is More- False. //Fashion is- fleeting. //Style is: forever.

Currently Loving:

//Music: Max Richter

//Print: The Montessori Toddler

//Food: Street Food

//Drink: Pellegrino Aranciata Rossa

//Film: To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before

//TV: Killing Eve, Westworld, Game of Thrones

//Podcast: The Daily, Hidden Brain, Second Life

//Instagram Handle: @brittanybathgate, @leatherology

//Designer: Co + Sandy Lian

Interview with Rae Liu, Founder of Leatherology

Interview with Rae Liu, Founder of Leatherology


Rae is the co-founder of Dallas, TX based, director to consumer brand Leatherology. Rae believes that great design and quality can be accessibly priced, and she and her company work hard to create beautiful products using the finest materials that can be personalized in thoughtful ways. Prior to Leatherology, Rae worked for many years in the fashion industry, where there was a relentless push towards newness and the next big thing. She felt this “newness” was fleeting and designs were often pushed out the door before they had a chance to fully marinate. She came away from that experience craving something simpler but more complete, lasting, and personalized. That’s a big reason why she and her brother David started Leatherology with a focus on creating simple, everyday luxury.




Photos used courtesy of Rae Liu and Leatherology.