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May 23, 2012

Sandast: Luxury Leather Goods Made In The USA


I was fortunate enough to attend the grand opening of Sandast’s flagship shop in downtown Los Angeles. Located in what once used to be an auto garage, the store features a studio where shoppers can watch founder Milan Franeta and his craftsman create their luxurious assortment of leather goods, which includes travel bags, duffels, messengers, briefcases, wallets, phone cases, and belts. The self-taught leather smith informed me that one bag can take an entire day to produce depending on the size.

Milan, who founded Sandast in 2006, did a fabulous job with the interior design.


The 4,000 sq. foot locale has an old world vibe and features a décor of found items, fixtures, and displays. There is even a wooden bar that was handcrafted by the designer himself. With so much to see and discover you can easily spend hours browsing through the vast selection of merchandise and checking out all the cool knick-knacks and displays.



The Sandast collection is comprised of two very distinct characters. One is a collection of American made vintage-inspired every day bags and the other is a cleaner, more refined collection of fine Italian-made leather goods. (Milan is from Italy after all.) The full range of men’s and women’s leather goods and accessories are priced between $80 to $2,000, which is a great deal given the quality of the craftsmanship and the attention to detail. The line’s motto is “Vintage done right,” and you’ll notice that a number of pieces in the collection sport a vintage like finish or design and the leather is also soft and buttery.



My overall favorite was this handbag modeled after an old-fashioned doctor’s bag.


When coming up with a concept Milan’s vision was to create a store that offered a full lifestyle experience, which is why the shop also carries many of his favorite brands including Red Wing boots, H by Hudson shoes, selvedge Nudie jeans, G-Star plaid shirts, Thom Browne sunglasses, and Vivienne Westwood watches.



The grand opening also celebrated the launch of Sandast’s new Artisan Collection of totes and bags. A play on the line’s main collection, the unisex Artisan pieces are made using a new, distinctive leather burnishing technique and were designed for everyday use.

Of course there were plenty of fashionable folks in the house including Susanne Taussig (co-owner of Stylestreet PR) whose main goal was to purchase this crave-worthy carryall that perfectly complimented her stylish ensemble.


This gal also looked amazing and she happened to be wearing a pair of Calleen Cordero shoes.


Calleen was also in attendance since her line of footwear and accessories are also carried in the store.



Drinks were courtesy of UV Vodka and Peligroso Tequila. Guests happily indulged their sweet tooth at the chocolate fountain. However, calories didn't matter because there were plenty of cool tunes to help burn them off. 



Sandast is located at: 1205 South Hill St. (at 12th St.) 213-748-1210
Narrative and photos by Nikki Neil

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