“The most eccentric gloves I have ever made,” says Niklas Magnusson, “is a pair of long, yellow men’s ones. Normally the cuff on men’s gloves is 1.5in or 2in long, but on this pair it was about 4in, which is even considered long for women’s gloves. That was the client’s first order from us, but after that he ordered five more pairs in all sorts of leathers, colours and linings.”
Magnusson is part of family-run Swedish brand Hestra, which has been making bespoke leather gloves (from $750) since 1936, offering options for men and women in styles suitable for anything from chic city outings to off-piste adventures. The ordering process takes three to four months and begins in Hestra’s Stockholm boutique – or at The Armoury in New York – where Niklas and his cousin, fellow glove cutter Anton Magnusson, make templates based on each customer’s measurements and use these to create handsewn mock-ups in preparation for an initial fitting.
Next comes the leather selection (the range includes peccary, carpincho nubuck, lambskin suede and deerskin) and decisions about lining (cashmere, lambskin, Italian rabbit fur, French Orylag rabbit – or, for a sleeker profile, no lining at all), length and fit. Colours can be statement-making azures or purples, or more discreet greys and beiges, while pebbled or polished patinas can also be specified. Once the stitching and any other decorative embellishments have been selected, the gloves are then made before Niklas performs final tweaks for sizing, which he insists are also done in person. “It’s difficult to achieve the perfect fit if it’s done remotely,” he says. “You can feel a difference of 1mm on the hands, and even a difference of 0.1mm between the fingers.” Finally, the gloves are ironed, polished and delivered, complete with care instructions that will ensure they remain supple and stand the test of time.
“I love creating something that will be worn year after year, and that will be appreciated every time the owner puts them on,” Niklas adds. “I value the days that I can go into the atelier and create something beautiful with my hands – it’s a luxury very few of us have today.”