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!


Vintage Meets New: Special Order Heron’s for Roger and VMC

I completed a special project a few weeks back. Here at  Himel Brothers we  strive for authenticity and ultimate creativity. I have a huge collection of vintage leather jackets and being small I am capable of small run special projects.

One of the special qualities of custom jackets made before 1930 was the raw custom nature of the techniques that went into their making.   The reality is many of the tailors that sewed leather jackets pre 1930 had little experience in mass production. The pattern making skills were often intuitive, the sewing techniques were usually crude and rudimentary. Jacket makers would either be copying something that they had seen in a publication or just a simple interpretation of something from memory.  There were few sewing standards and pattern making techniques  pre WW 2.  The primitive nature of these jackets is very hard to “recapture” both in technique and spirit because of the random beauty of the intuitive design.


I own thousands of jackets. I love leather and developed a crazed passion for collecting and dissecting the nature of these jackets. My Heron jacket is one of the results of my passion for patterns. My new friend Roger of VMC Originals asked me to do a very special project of super authentic Herons.

Back in the day leather jackets were mostly work wear.  Leather shells were super tough but often even after being resewn the linings were not either tough enough or warm enough for the inclement conditions that workers of the 1920s might have to endure.  Often the jackets would go back the tailor to have a old tired blanket sewn in to provide extra warmth.  What better way to keep a good and expensive garment working for you then to repurpose a warm old wool blanket into a liner.  I own many such jackets with custom blanket liners.  Here is my version of blanket liners in my Heron’s available exclusively at VMC in Switzerland.  Each jacket became a unique artwork combining the beauty of the past with the resurrection of new horsehide leather shells!