Inspiration Vol #3: The Final Day and the RRL Party

Day two of Inspiration arrived far too early in the morning.  Nancy and I moved hotels to the historic Dolly Vardan in Long Beach in order to save the  long drive from downtown L.A.  We got to the show unpacked our gear  and prepared to meet and greet.  I was really impressed with all the vendors and dealers at the show.  I chatted up Bob Chatt and Owen about their recent reality t.v. show Combat Cash, and revisited all the best store owners in L.A.   Day Two was the day that designers cruised in to visit before heading out to the Rose Bowl to buy vintage design pieces on Sunday and then rush off to Las Vegas to represent their brands at Project clothing show.  Everyone in high end menswear dropped in to offer support.  Tsujimoto of Real McCoys, John Chapman of Goodwear Leather and I managed to get a  picture together.  We all share the same ethics and philosophies of how we make real pure and  true to the 1930s leather jackets.  We also all buy our leather from the same supplier in Japan.  I was very honoured that these two jacket makers let me join their ranks as an equal!  Kento, who is the next generation of Real McCoys and famous baseballer,  tried on my newest model the Canauck 1910 leather railroad jacket!  Innis and Sophie came by the booth and when Nancy, Naoko and Sophie started trying on my girls leather jackets the whole room stopped to watch.  It was really quite amazing.  Right at that time Paul D’Orleans of the most famous motorcycle blog The Vintagent, dropped in to say hello.  We have shared links for years without actually meeting each other.  However, like everyone else we all waited slack jawed and mezmorized until  the ladies ended their fashion show!!!  Blair of General Quarters Store L.A. tried on a Heron.  He makes every jacket look good!  The most important two goals for my day were to meet Matt from Imogene and Willie and Kiya from Self Edge.

The show began to lull, by 2 in the afternoon everybody was exhausted and dreading the pack out because of the stairs and the single freight elevator.  Finally Matt came by.  He was one of my first customers and a real supporter of my jackets.  What a true Nashvillian gentleman.  I was blown away.  Finally, at the 11th hour  Kiya came by.  This was a big moment for me.  We shook hands and talked and then pow…just like that Kiya told me he wants to carry my jackets in all three stores.  Finally I will be back in Los Angeles.  Not just L.A., San Fran, NYC and Nashville and Portland!  So HBL will be releasing limited edition jackets in all Self Edges locations pretty soon!  Phew my trip was worth the 3000 mile exhaustion run.  So now it was pack up and load up Eric’s van for the Rose Bowl flea market the next day and get to the Ralph Lauren RRL party.  Well we got packed up and I had to shower up and de-swell my feet at the hotel.  RRL was incredible.  Jeff Decker was releasing his limited edition custom RLL belt buckles.  As we were heading to Project on Sunday with Jeff’s rare motorcycle cuts and likely showing his rare Crocker motorcycle in our booth I really wanted to show my support at the RRL party.  Well it was fantastic.  Everybody in fashion was there!  Nevermind that, RRL hired In and Out Burger to make burgers for everybody!!!

Nancy and I got up late the next day unlike Caleb and Eric who had to be at the Bowl at 5 am.  We were parting ways as I was hitting the Rose Bowl flea market which is the biggest most important junk sale on the planet for fashion designers and Nancy had to head back to Toronto for her other job.  Well it was an amazing day.  The best part was meeting Robert outside in the parking lot to discuss our not so secret boot project that will hopefully be coming to Himel Brothers Online store pretty soon!


1930’s and 1940’s Belts and Trucker Wallets: Sartorial and Curatorial

I was tempted to dig out an old magazine ad from the late 1930s showing Miller belts.  Why you ask?  Well way back in the day when things were slower and just plain better this weird tradition of Native and American folk art intermixed and made a baby.  Indian and Mexican studding and conchos cross fertilized rebellious American cowboy culture and motor culture and studded belts were born.  Traditional cool warrior cultures fertilized the new terrain and men took their spare time and skills and built shiny spotty armour.  From these traditions of studded leather, more commercialized versions started appearing in department store catalogues.  Soon entire companies rose up to make what became traditional and in some cases nontraditional or custom spot patterns.

From Wards and Miller to the mists of time I have collected many hundreds of these spotted commercial and custom belts.  As part of my Himel Brothers project my good friend Kat has customized some belts in Japan and is going to offer very special hand-made belts and wallets here at Himelbros.com .  Kat is an expert on 1930’s style and carefully researched techniques and aesthetics of these early belts and wallets.  He orders his leather and spots from the U.S.A. He uses only the finest vegetable tanned belt blanks, hand stamps and colours them and individually sets the spots (metal studs) one by one.  Cut a hole set a spot and push in the prongs.  Each belt is finished with a New Old Stock original period Navajo stamped belt buckle.  I have a very limited supply of original buckles straight from the past.   There is no fake aging in slow leather making.  The spirit of Wabi Sabi is in play.  The leather will stain and develop the character of its owners.  So as you wear it, it will interact and take on the shape, scars and character of its owner.  We are offering ready-made versions of these fine belts on the website in the Drygoods section, and we are now able to make custom orders if you need it  The wallets are hand cut, stitched and finished with nice polished edges.  These are really beautiful icons or artifacts, and everyone deserves one good thing!

 


Bread and Butter Berlin: Viberg, Himelbros and Inspiration

Well so many things are going on in the new year and I am playing catch up as usual.  I have had some great customers last year and I am thankful I’m still here and launching into the new year with exciting new jackets!  So I would like to extend a big thankyou to all of you who follow my blogs, and my little tiny company and an especially large thankyou to all those that have bought jackets.  I will of course be posting all the reviews by my customers on this blog this month.  I am honoured to have so many pleasant compliments in my in box!

So big news for those living in Europe interested in seeing jacket in person.  Brett Viberg of Viberg Boots will be previewing some of my jackets at Bread and Butter Berlin this week.  If you happen to be in Germany drop in and say hello to Brett, he is not just a fan but a collaborator and is launching his own line of clothing at the show!!  Also for my American friends, Himelbros will be going to Los Angeles for Rin Tanaka’s Inspiration Show and will be show cased by Eric Schrader of Junkyard Jeans in his booth at the bottom of the Queen Mary.  Come down to the show if you are in L.A. in February to see the action, as some of the best and greatest in the design business will be hanging about shaking hands and kissing cheeks!

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