One of the great things about the rise of Internet-based commerce is that you no longer have to go to a department store to buy mass-produced, overly-branded products and deal with a limited selection. Sure, maybe things are cheaper — and it’s fine to be OK with that — but maybe you have an idea in your head about what you want exactly done for an item and the odds of any store stocking such a rare concept is quite slim.
That’s why I love finding small-business operations for things like leather accessories. You can talk directly to the guy (or gal) making your item and see if they’re open to making unique designs or using a certain type of leather or thread.
David Lane Design is one of those places — a one-man shop who started doing custom leather watch straps completely by hand. I hate to use hyperbole, especially after only seeing photos online, but take a look at these watch straps and tell me they’re not beautiful.
Everything is completely customizable: lug width, strap width, strap length, stitching, stitch color, leather used, etc. As you can guess, this kind of customization does come at a high cost, but if you’re the type who can buy a Rolex, then why not spring for an equally impressive strap, too?
Beyond watch straps, other custom leather items are available — including bracelets, a guitar strap cut from a Swedish Gustav K ammunition pouch and now wallets. The wallets range from $77 to $117, depending on the features you want on it. Here’s what David told me in an email about his new wallet design:
I have spent the last 5 years dismantling ammunition pouches and various pieces of military equipment, to construct watch straps for my customers. I have used the design features of these historical pieces to construct a wallet that features the same degree of craftsmanship and purpose driven design. I wanted to create a wallet that performs to the same level and ruggedness as the ammo pouches, yet still simple, aesthetically clean, and functional. I have put my personal wallet through 6 months of research and design, before landing on a final product.
Attached are all examples of the designs I have been working on. They are all completely customizable from the type of hardware and stitch color, to custom initials and edge dye.
The wallet above is David’s personal one he’s used for the past six months. If you’re interested in a wallet, then you can pre-order now by emailing David, who plans to start shipping in November. Each wallet will ship in a burlap sack, a custom crate and a written history of his work.
David also told me that in the future he plans to add other wallet designs, iPhone cases and key chains. I’ll be keeping an eye on his site for the future.