New Projects New Leather: Pop!!!

It is always hard to explain to people what I do over here in my little tiny company.  I often get emails from people wondering why my jackets and other items are so expensive or why it takes so long to make a single jacket.  I guess part of my job is trying to de-mystify what I do.  A lot of people might see that as a crazy thing to do but I want anybody who is interested to see the day to day workings of HBL.  Firstly I do almost everything.  I run a very tiny shop!  I have one other sewer and one cutter.  We make each jacket one by one by one.  Cutting each carefully matched piece of leather from the skin and assembling every single jacket a piece at a time.  I post about this all the time.  Well I just got a new shipment of leather in.  I search out vegetable tanned top grain shrunk hides from the best tanners on the planet.  This shit’s expensive.  My hides are running as high as ten dollars a sq. foot. What this means is my leather is like fine wine.  It is aged, cured and treated with incredible respect from the most beautiful sourced animals on the planet.  This load is from the most respected cordovan tannery in Japan.  As far as I know only 3 other jacket makers use this tannery, John Chapman of Goodwear Leather, Tsujimoto of Real McCoys and The Flathead.  Perhaps there are others but most importantly for me is that I use the best of the best leathers on the planet and I know my friends in the jacket business feel the same way.  This load is for my new secret super special project debuting in the U.S.A. soon.  I have also acquired some very interesting liners.   These jackets will be super limited edition HBL specials!!!


Packing Up Project 2012: Heading for Decker’s Studio and Boise
The Black Keys: Customer Profiles


  1. Simon Tuntelder
    June 20, 2012 - 11:41 PM

    I work with leathers myself, and I have to say, that these hides look particularly tasty.

    I hope you keep on turning out spectacular jackets. Once I start making a bit more profit, I’ll definitely stop by for a jacket of yours!

    Have a great day


  2. Hi, I’ve been following your blog for a couple of years now as I hope to order a jacket from you at some point. I note that you describe some of the leather you use as “shrunk”. I understand what vegetable tanning is but would appreciate it if you would expand a little on the “shrunk” thing and what is the aesthetic benefit derived from that.
    I look forward to owning one of your beautiful designs soon.
    Cheers, gw.

  3. shrunk refers to the old process of tanning. Modern tanning takes about 1 day in a chemical bath of chromium salts….the leather is treated, then sanded for blemish, then hot rolled out to remove all character and maximize sq. footage….the ancient tanning process of my Japanese leather means 3 months in a bark solution and 5 months of dry curing like wines…this shrinks the fibres making them super compact (and lowering the sq footage) and thusly super strong and grainy. I do not sand, heat, press, paint or correct the leather because I use full top grain skins that come from animals that have lived good lives and been well treated….I hope that is a start….

  4. David, your work is outstanding. I am utterly impressed and blown away by your jackets! I hope to have one some day! I live in Japan, and have been researching into jackets here, but also just came across Itaya-san’s website. I hope to visit him soon and check out your work!

  5. thankyou !!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published / Required fields are marked *