Rainbow Leather

“We are the go-to shop for all those looking for unique and custom printing techniques.”

Rick LipsonCEO

“My father and I built an innovative and strong company.”

Rick Lipson’s journey in the Garment District began forty years ago. His father, Samuel Lipson, founded Rainbow Leather in the 1970s, with the goal of opening a leather printing, cutting, foiling, embossing, and custom painting studio in the heart of New York City. Rick joined the business after graduating from SUNY Albany, keen to modernize operations and bring a new perspective. Over the years, Rick and Samuel expanded Rainbow Leather into new markets including home furnishings, garment design, and fabric printing, simultaneously expanding its capabilities.

While Rick has built a reputation for being business-savvy, his father is known for his creativity. In fact, Samuel was one of the first craftsman to decorate leather, initially printing it by hand and eventually doing so with silk screens. Predating technology, Samuel would use pieces of felt, dip them into ink, and lay them in different directions to create plaid leather. Since then, the company has incorporated new equipment and processes, and has needed additional space as a result. While Rainbow Leather set up shop in College Point, Queens, the company made sure it had a showroom in the Garment District in order to remain connected with the fashion community.

Faces of the Garment District - Rainbow Leather Digital Printing
Faces of the Garment District - Rainbow Leather Manufacturing

“We are the go-to shop for all those looking for unique and custom printing techniques.”

Over the years, Rainbow Leather has reinvented itself several times in order to stay up-to-date with the latest trends and technologies. Rick prioritizes innovation, and attributes much of his company’s technological growth to the support provided by the City and the CFDA. Today, Rainbow Leather has completely modernized its processes, incorporating UV printing technology, heat transfer printing, sublimation printing, and more. This equipment has propelled Rainbow Leather ahead of its competition and cemented its reputation as the go-to resource for unique printing techniques and custom materials.

Rainbow Leather works with all types of clients from fashion designers to hotels and restaurants. It offers them a variety of materials to work with, such as leathers — including vegan and cactus leather, cork, fabrics, eco-friendly materials etc.; and also encourages clients who prefer bringing their own materials into the shop to do so.

“Rainbow Leather continues to move forward and scale.”

Business has picked up again post-pandemic, but COVID did have devastating effects, with the factory losing one of its employees to the virus. Rick and his team have become increasingly close during these dark times and continue to support each other every day.

Rick is currently working with ITAC on developing a succession plan so that he can eventually retire; he is also simultaneously setting ambitious goals for both himself and the company to make sure that Rainbow Leather keeps growing. The company is also working on a marketing plan to grow its already diverse client base, and constantly keeps track of the latest styles to make sure it remains innovative. Rick looks forward to implementing his latest plan; what keeps driven after all these years is the pride he feels daily for what he and his father built.

Faces of the Garment District - Rainbow Leather Rick Lipson

Q&A with Rick Lipson

What work have you enjoyed most?

Creating various designs based on our customers, trends, styles.

Who influenced you most?

I have had a lot of influences - from family to acquaintances to current events. I keep a pulse on the market and listen to everything. Our customers really influence us because listening to what they want directs the course of our business.

Fun part of your job?

Traveling to Italy and around the world for shows.