Saturday, July 17, 2010

AA Endorses: BillyKirk

Started in 1999 by brothers Chris and Kirk Bray, BillyKirk produces high quality handmade leather goods. Real leather goods. The kind that you can wear forever and molds to your body, aging gracefully so that you can pass it on to your children and your children’s children.

These types of hand crafted artisan goods have certainly seen a resurgence in recent years, as if there were a backlash against our disposable consumer culture and a desire to return to the type of goods that our parents used to own. Shit that didn’t break or look obsolete in 1-2 years.

Although, I must admit that this trend may have swung a bit too far in that direction, with hand crafted designer axes. Nothing says rugged, like an urban axe. I seriously doubt that the folks that can actually afford a $180 axe with sleekly painted handles, are the ones who actually need one let alone know how to use it properly. Fortunately, BillyKirk does not fall into that annoying category and lacks those pretentions.

Instead, these brothers are really into leather, but in a good way. They apprenticed in a traditional leather workshop that had been passed down for three generations to learn their craft. Now they focus on hand crafting authentic and very stylish leather goods like belts, card holders, and bags. Their shop is based out of New York and employs only highly skilled Amish leather workers. These guys are third generation leather workers who make saddles and bridles for horses without electricity. Their lineup changes frequently, and they only make limited quantities of their goods.

On a personal note, I think these guys are pretty awesome people. I have never met them, but in my quest to track down an older BillyKirk belt I had emailed them to see if they had it in stock. They responded within a day, and despite the belt being out of production and out of stock offered to make it for me. Pretty damn nice of them.

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