WINNER ‘Progress toward circularity’ Marie Claire Sustainability Awards 2023

Interview with Leather Crafter Yusuf Osman of YUSSICO

We recently spoke to Yusuf Osman of YUSSICO, who left his former career as a solicitor to become a respected craftsperson producing beautifully designed leather goods in arrays of dazzling colours. Read on to find out more about Yusuf's journey into crafts and the unique aspects of his practice. 

Yusuf will be leading a workshop on making a leather key fob for SAMPLE Spring at the Design District in the Greenwich Peninsula. Find out more about this event and book a free ticket here. You can follow YUSSICO on Instagram at @yussico to stay up-to-date with Yusuf. 

Leather mat pieces in orange and brown on a table, with hands reaching for them

How did you start your journey towards creating your label, YUSSICO?

Ironically, I began exploring my creative side and working with my hands whilst reading Law at the London School of Economics. Over the years, I tried many different crafts, but it was after I stepped away from a career as a solicitor that I discovered leatherworking and I was instantly hooked! I gradually improved my skills by taking short courses with craftspeople I admired and spent all my free time practicing in my tiny bedroom. In 2019 I decided to quit my job to focus on my craft full-time and moved into Cockpit Studios, which led to the launch of my now very popular teaching practice. Although I couldn’t teach during the pandemic, I used that time to develop and launch my first collection of homeware and handbags, which I’m very excited about!

Yusuf standing at table with leather cut-outs

Can you tell us a little bit about the process behind your practice?

I really believe that the body knows what it wants to express and the hands know how to bring that into existence. I therefore eschew any cerebral processing and prefer to be led by the materials and the experience I hold in my hands. It’s forever a challenge to switch off the mind to really discover what is stimulation and what is inspiration. A lot of my process is actually deep inner work to discover the true nature of myself and my expression. Working with my hands allows me to reveal the relationship I have with myself and the world around me. Through my work, I’m able to convey that. 

Rolling up sheets of leather

How does your practice centre on sustainability?

I understand the dichotomy of my existence as a craftsperson and grapple with it in all my decision making by adopting a slow and considered approach to everything I do. From the sourcing of my leather and other supplies right through to the packaging, I ensure that I am continually minimising my impact. The handcrafted approach puts a natural cap on my rate of growth. I approach design through a unique and fresh lens to ensure that only well considered creations are released into the world, ones that will become your favourite pieces for many years to come. 

Leather crafting studio

What makes YUSSICO's products different?

Finding new ways to express colour is at the heart of my work. As much as my craft is a therapy for me, I want my products to banish the blues by bringing joy into your daily life!

What do you do in your spare time? 

Creativity runs through my veins and also informs what I like to do in my spare time. You can find me trying out a new craft or hanging upside down on some aerial equipment! 

Attend Yusuf's workshop on creating a leather key fob at SAMPLE Spring on 2 April. Find out more and book your free ticket here.