October 9, 2016

Edelman Leather Co-Founder Teddy Edelman Dies at 88

A love for leather pervaded the life of Teddy Edelman, co-founder of Edelman Leather. Born Theodora Joffe in Brooklyn, NY in 1928, she passed away on October 4. She is survived by her husband of 66 years, Arthur, and their six children, Sam, Sally, Toni, David, Mary, and John.

After meeting at Sarah Lawrence College, Teddy and Arthur Edelman began creating experimental artwork from animal hide. They soon went on to join Arthur’s family tannery business, Fleming-Joffe, which became the fashion industry’s leading supplier of high-performance leathers. Andy Warhol joined their team as a graphic designer. He left in 1964, the same year the Edelmans received the Neiman Marcus Award for distinguished service in the field of fashion.

The Edelmans sold Fleming-Joffe in 1980 to launch Edelman Leather, providing luxury upholstery to architects and interior designers for high-end residential, office, hospitality, aviation, and marine projects. Warhol even contributed the iconic “This is a chair upholstered in Edelman Leather” poster that distinguished the brand. Today, the line includes more than 800 colorways and over 80 types of leather, all sustainably sourced, and the business is managed from the Edelman home in New Milford, Connecticut.

Teddy Edelman leaves behind a resounding appreciation for design. Her youngest son, John, is president and CEO of the modern and contemporary furniture giant Design Within Reach, overseeing the launch of a half dozen retail locations including the New York flagship. The oldest son, Sam, founded a series of fashion and footwear brands now owned by Caleres.

Read a full obituary of Teddy Edelman >

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