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“Down Argentine Way” was famously a movie vehicle for Carmen Miranda, but these days the South American nation serves as the source (and resource) for a pair of American women behind Hare+Hart, a leathergoods company.

Emily Harrison and Jennie Engelhardt became friends while studying at Carlton College in Minnesota, bonding over their love of fashion. The pair came up with the idea of creating a line of contemporary leathergoods after their wanderlust lead them both down to Argentina. Engelhardt studied abroad in Buenos Aires her senior year and Harrison went there to take a sommelier course.

Their explorations drew them to the country’s fertile plains, known as the pampas, where they discovered the leather industry in Argentina, “known to be one of the best in the world.”

What impressed them the most was the “cage free” and “free range” lifestyle of the cattle. “These animals, cows and goats alike, are given humane conditions to graze before ever being utilized for their meat and skin,” Engelhardt says. “Because of these positive circumstances, not only are the animals allowed to lead better lives, but also the leather industry blossoms due to the cage-free lifestyle preventing the leather from marring.”

They started their “ethically conscious” collection with leather jackets in 2009, but this spring they added accessories, beginning with vegetable tanned, cow hair handbags. “We see accessories as our growth market. We’d like to stay in leather and continue into other leather categories as well,” Engelhardt adds.

Suggested retail on cross body style: $375


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