There’s this unspoken, underlying understanding in leather goods that paying more automatically equals getting a better product. Perhaps this stems from all the other rationales we use to make ourselves feel better about doing shitty things, like the idea that the worse the hangover you have to reckon with, the better the night that preceded it, or the more sweaty and miserable and lovesick you feel, the better the relationship. However, the simple fact is that it’s just not true (actually, none of those things are true).
Grabbed your “summer clothes” bin out of the back of your closet only to find a bunch of neatly-folded letdowns? You’re in luck: we’re introducing a new feature for the warm-weather months, aptly named “Summer Stock-Up”. In each post you’ll find five variations on a summer essential—perfect for refreshing your closet (and avoiding future disappointments).
We’ll be the first to admit, the term “classic” gets tossed around a lot in the menswear community. A great hat? Classic. Dark denim? Classic. Brogue? Classic. So many things are “classic”, in fact, that you might find your closet stuffed wall-to-wall and be left wondering—with such a diverse wardrobe of “classics”, what’s not classic?
It’s strange, really, how emotionally attached we can become to the objects in our lives. While we all know, in the back of our heads, the old mantra that the most important things in life aren’t things at all, it’s hard to ignore the resounding feeling of intimacy toward a well-loved leather bag, scarf, or favorite sweater. These things become, through our continued appreciation of them, greater than the sum of their parts— not just cabled wool or slubby linen, but something much harder to name. That’s why, when we look at such a minimal, blank canvas of an object such as the new natural billfold by Joshu + Vela, we feel that we’re looking at the start of a journey. The natural, veg-tanned leather, free of any unnecessary bells or whistles, is just begging to be personalized by the thumbprints and nicks and other imperfections that so endear us to our favorite objects. This, you might say, is the beginning of a beautiful friendship. Get it here.
Like most folks with a predilection toward the exquisitely handmade, we tend to lament (loudly, after a few drinks) the general lack of DIY know-how these days. Lucky for us, the folks at MAKE TRIBE are on a mission that just might shut us up (quite a feat). Their latest can’t-miss venture features two of our favorite things: leather goods and craft cocktails. Hang out at Readyluck Studios and sip cocktails from Baltimore area artisanal hotspot RYE next Thursday, September 19 while learning to make your own hand-bound leather notebooks. Put another way: get tipsy enough to complain about the state of handmade arts, while picking up the skills to prove yourself wrong. We know, we know— we can’t believe how cool it is, either. Get more info here.
People frequently walk around saying that the best things in life are free, which is true, mostly, but perhaps a better (and more widely applicable) phrase would be that the best things in life are simple. Exhibit A, a briefcase from Contango— or, more accurately, THE briefcase from Contango, because they only make one, and it’s all they make. It’s available in two colors, but both boast the meticulous attention to quality that you’d expect from a brand that stakes itself on one expertly-crafted item. English bridle leather handles, solid copper rivets, hard-wearing construction meant to last forever. Not much else. You needed a briefcase? This is a briefcase. It’s expertly made, but don’t go expecting it to be something else. The best things in life are simple. Get it here.
From now until our POP-UP SHOP on July 18th, we’ll be doing featurettes on each of the brands whose wares we’ll stock. Be sure to come check us out at The Old Bank Barbers in Baltimore from July 18th-20th to see the specially curated collection in person.
Brick & Mortar Brand Featurette: Don’t Mourn Organize (Utah)
Don’t Mourn Organize is a small leather goods shop out of Utah, where craftsman Scott Willis creates belts, bags, wallets, and more with passion, enthusiasm, and great attention to detail. Willis’ products are handmade in every way, showcasing the beauty and character of each piece of leather. With collaborations with LA workwear giant Rogue Territory under his belt (no pun intended), and consistent praise of his long-lasting products coming in from across the globe, Willis’ work is an exciting addition to our Baltimore pop-up.
Our pick: DMO’s Veg-tanned horsehide dress belt
Learn more about Don’t Mourn Organize by clicking here.
Yes, folks, it’s true. We here at Rye & Rivet are beyond-excited to announce that we will be hosting our very own Pop-Up retail shop right here in Baltimore, Maryland. Join us for our kickoff party on July 18 from 7-10pm at Hampden’s brand new Old Bank Barbers for complimentary custom cocktails, snacks, music, good vibes, and, of course, a specially curated shopping experience featuring John Ruvin Sunwear, Railcar Fine Goods, Old Calgary, Fox & Brie, Don’t Mourn Organize, and more.
We’re so looking forward to seeing you all! Come celebrate and see our dream of a Rye & Rivet brick & mortar space come true.
Nisolo Shoes occupies a special place in our heart— not just because they produce painstakingly handmade oxfords and chukkas, but because the story behind how each item is crafted is so incredible, running the gamut from heartbreaking to hugely inspiring. We spoke with Nisolo to learn more about the people who make their incredible products, and to get a sneak peek at what the future holds, as well.
RYE & RIVET: First thing’s first— can you tell us a little about how Nisolo got started? And how it works?
PATRICK WOODYARD: Our story begins in November of 2010 with a talented and very passionate group of people in Northern Peru. Members of the Nisolo team spent a combined two years working with Sinergia, a microfinance organization associated with Peru Mission in Trujillo, Peru. Spending time in and out of the homes of impoverished women, our focus was on empowerment, and our objective was to help women grow their own small businesses so that they could better provide for their families. What we found here did not differ from similar experiences in other parts of the developing world: we saw hope, determination, and loads of potential. As we worked side-by-side with this large group of remarkable women, an urge continued to grow inside of us to tell their story to the rest of the world. Fate took over one morning as we sat in the kitchen of one of the women’s homes. While helping to balance the books of her small convenience store, a steady hammering in the adjacent room challenged our ability to hear one another. Noticing our interest, she guided us to the next room of her dirt-floored, metal-roofed home where her husband, Willan, sat handcrafting a handsome, high-quality men’s leather dress shoe. Intrigued by the fine leather craftsmanship in the midst of such poverty, we were even more surprised to find that despite such a quality product, Willan struggled to make ends meet or find consistent work. As the desire grew to help Willan and his wife, we did our research only to find that his situation was not unique. We found out that there are more than 3,000 other small-scale shoemakers in the region who faced similar circumstances.What was needed was a vehicle of opportunity, and that is exactly what Nisolo intends to be. We have assembled a strong team of social entrepreneurs ready to take on the challenges of the U.S. market and all that goes into building a solid brand. Our hope is to influence a growing culture of conscious consumerism here in the U.S. as well as to offer job creation and access to opportunity for this Peruvian community and others around the world.
R&R: What three words would you use to describe the Nisolo brand?
PW: It is difficult to narrow Nisolo down to three simple words, but I would have to say “empowerment,” “quality,” and “style.”
R&R: There’s obviously a lot of tradition built into the way that these craftsmen and women do their trades— how long have the individuals you partner with been making shoes? Is it a skill set that’s passed down?
PW: Decades of experience make each one of our shoemakers an artisan. The master craftsmen making our handcrafted Nisolos have a lifetime of experience in shoemaking, having been raised in the center of the shoemaking capital of Peru. To them, each product is a work of art that brings a lot of pride and dignity to their persona.
R&R: We often forget that many people beyond ourselves are affected, whether positively or negatively, by the things we choose to purchase. Why is affecting positive change through Nisolo important to you?
PW: A cause that has always been close to my heart has been poverty alleviation and economic development in general. That is what originally led me to Peru to work in microfinance and eventually start Nisolo. As far a responsible consumerism goes, it wasn’t until seeing the effects of Nisolo on the ground in Peru that I was completely convinced that our little choices do make a big difference. Since then, we have become much more conscious consumers than ever before.
R&R: What else is on the horizon for Nisolo?
PW: This fall, you can expect to see a beautiful line of men’s wing-tip and traditional dress Oxfords. Future styles will expand to include mid-calf men’s lace-up boots, a women’s traditional pump and full length women’s boots. Over the next few years, we plan to continue to develop our line of leather shoes and accessories while creating more jobs in Peru in this sector. In addition, we plan to empower more artisans by developing further high-quality handmade products such as a line of alpaca wool sweaters and scarves as well as line of handmade jewelry.
Thanks again to the folks from Nisolo for answering our questions. To shop their current collection, or to learn more about their cause, visit them here.
Known uses for vinegar: cleaning the coffee maker; creating active science-project volcanos; flavoring potato chips. Unknown uses for vinegar: creating the fade-resistant, black-as-pitch color on Barrett Alley's new collection of leather goods. Using a process called “vinegaroon”, iron and vinegar combine to permanently blacken veg-tanned leather. The result is a collection of Barrett Alley's best items in a brand new colorway…with the added benefit that you'll sound super cool and super knowledgeable when you explain how your belt got so black. Plus, buy any vinegaroon'd product from Barrett Alley's site today and get 10% off at checkout with code (you guessed it) “VINEGAROON”. Hey, it's a better use of your Thursday than cleaning the coffee maker. Get it here.
Let’s get something thing straight once and for all— colors are good. We’re not anti-color. But black will always—always—have a special place in our hearts. No matter what bright madras we’re gazing at on the glossy pages of the whichever summer issue, no matter whether brights or jewel-tones or pastels are “having their moment” or “making a comeback” or any number of other phrases that we tend to hear time and time again as the temperatures creep up, we just love black. Black just is. And, sure, it’s not always the most practical thing to don a whole mess of black clothing in 95-degree weather, but that doesn’t mean we’re going down without a fight. Take, for instance, this gorgeous all-black edition of the boat tote from Joshu + Vela. U.S.A.-tanned leather, sturdy canvas and striking copper rivets come together to form an all-black item you won’t mind taking beachside, poolside, or even to the countryside. It’s classic meets badass, and it’s ready to hit the road whenever you are— no color-coordinating necessary. We’d say “black is back”, but really, the whole point is that it never goes away. Get it here.
Finesse— now that’s a word you don’t see much anymore. Webster defines it as “refinement or delicacy of workmanship or structure”. Maybe the reason we don’t see that word very often is that few products these days elicit this descriptor. “New”— we see that word a lot. But whereas “finesse” tells you something about the product itself, “new” only tells you something about its position in time— something is “new” only until something else is “newer”. Finesse, on the other hand…finesse is forever. Finesse is to New what Style is to Fashion. And if there’s one thing we can say about this artfully simple carryall from Materials + Process, it’s that it has finesse. It lacks both complication and gimmick, replacing these with an understanding of classic, purposeful understatement. In other words? Finesse. C’mon, folks. Let’s bring it back. Get it here.
It’s one of the worst-kept secrets of all time that life often requires us to be (how shall we say it?) less than truthful. From white lies to those downright indistinguishable gray areas, sometimes we’re put to the test and the only way to pass is to be crafty. One sneaky maneuver you won’t ever feel bad for deploying? The Smuggler’s Belt from Barrett Alley. With a hidden pocket secured behind the buckle, it’s the perfect place to stash whatever type of contraband your rakish lifestyle requires. And the best part? It’s absolutely perfect for concealing things from the person in your life you need to the most— yourself. Need to keep cab fare handy for after a night at the bars, but don’t want to spend it on the third (fourth? fifth? sixth?) round of drinks by mistake? This belt is foolproof. Unlike your latest web of lies… Get it here.
We know what you’re thinking: “Lamps? What’s so great about a lamp?” Bite your tongue, sir. This is not just a lamp. This is Allied Maker's lamp made of gorgeous hardwoods finished with organic beeswax, outfitted with a cotton-covered cord and brass findings, and bottomed with beautiful and hard-wearing leather. As far as lamps go, these are the most masculine yet understatedly heirloom-quality specimens we've ever seen. Still not convinced? Take another look at that lightbulb. The hand-wound Marconi bulbs (which, okay, maybe sound a little like something out of Portlandia) add just a pinch more visual interest and set this lamp above all others. In fact, it doesn’t even feel right to call it a lamp. What’s a more rugged word for objet d’art? Get it here.
Ah, the iPad. No matter how useful those damn things are, we still always feel a bit awkward tucking this slick little piece of equipment under our arms and walking down the street— it’s like carrying around a big flashing “Young Trendy Kid” sign. But then we came across this iPad case from KC CO. and it changed everything. KC CO. only makes four items, and it’s easy to see that a benefit of this is that they put a ton of thought into designing each one. The iPad case, which is made of a gorgeous veg-tan leather, looks more like a folio your late Madison Avenue grandfather would’ve carried around and less like a slick gadget you picked up from the smug kid at Brookstone. And on the level of utility, it doesn’t disappoint either, since the pockets are just big enough for the essentials— i.e. anything you don’t already have an App for. Get it here.