Denim HQ – The Skin We’re In

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We don’t just love denim, we love duck canvas, chambray, hickory cloth and most of all (after denim), we love leather. Leather is the perfect accompaniment to denim, it faultlessly accompanies our jeans, shirts and jackets in a variety of forms because, much like raw denim, it wears, ages and fades in a completely natural and unique manner. There is an argument that due to the longevity of good quality leather that we should perhaps hold it higher in our affections than denim, but that is a matter of personal preference. Our choices and options in our leather wear are far more complicated than our denim choices, and the relationship between item and wearer is much more symbiotic, without care the leather will dry and crack, caring for certain leathers in the wrong way will yield similar results. Leather items require their owner to invest themselves into getting to know them, what will hurt and what will heal them, not to mention that the sheer volume of variety of leather clothes, shoes and accessories used by people on a daily basis. My personal collection of leather items includes quite a variety, most of which see extremely regular use and some of which has even begun to take on some nice wear and patina.

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My leather EDC is made up of 9 separate pieces, 5 bracelets, a wallet or card case, my phone case, a belt and my footwear, additional to this I have also owned quite a few leather jackets over the years and am currently awaiting delivery of something I have come up with myself and is being made in collaboration with Alexander Leathers and Iron Heart, which I am hoping will be quite special. My bracelets are all made from untanned cow leather and are a mixed bag collected from my travels and from my friends, two from Iron Heart events in New York and Gosport, two from a brand called Voyej who I met in Indonesia and one from my friends James and Johnny at Obbigood. I have never been much of a jewellery wearer but I do love a nicely evolved leather band, they are the only item that I wear without purpose, purely for adornment, and they never leave my wrists.

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For my cards and cash I have a choice of two items, the first is a black mid length wallet by Obbigood which I have had for many years and usually accompanies me when I travel abroad to contain all the extra things that I don’t need when I’m at home (health insurance card etc..). Over the past year or so I have found that carrying a large wallet effects my seated posture and gives me lower back ache (a sure sign of getting old), so I looked for a solution and found it in the humble, and tiny, card case by Tush leathers. The card case is hand made in Japan, from Japanese cow leather and while it may not be cheap I would doubt that there is a better card case available anywhere.

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Both my phone case and belt were made by a personal friend of mine, and one of the most talented up and coming leather craftsmen out there at the moment, Zach Brown of ZeeBee Leathers. All ZeeBee products are hand made by Zach in San Diego, California from the best American hides, using tanneries such as Horween for his steerhide and cordovan. Zach selects, patterns, cuts and stitches every item by hand, meticulously matching up thread and sinew to the exact specification of his customer. The phone case I have is the second one I have owned from Zack (after swapping my iPhone 4S for a 5S), both simple sleeve cases made from good quality vegetable tanned leather and hand stitched with a thick gauge yarn. Through constant use and an initial treatment with Huberds boot grease they quickly take on a lovely, natural patina of wear.

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My belt is a true lifetime purchase, it is double layered with Horween steerhide and natural vegetable tanned leather with are bound together using the immensely time consuming but unfeasibly secure saddle stitch method. The plate brass buckle is hand cast in Washington DC and attached with Chicago screws to allow it to be exchanged as my tastes may dictate. It is literally the most incredible belt I have ever seen, I know that we all have a tendency to describe the things we love with meaningless superlatives but I would defy anyone to find me a better belt anywhere.

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When it comes to boots I think that I have recently documented enough about my rotation and choice, suffice to say that a good quality leather boots should be an essential for every man, woman and child walking the planet in my opinion. A great pair of boots will last a lifetime with proper care and repair, they will certainly prove that they are worth far more than whatever your initial outlay on them is and the only cautionary advice I would give on boots is get ones which are versatile and hold long term appeal for you. A lifetime is a long time to be stuck with boots that you don’t love.

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