Saturday, July 3, 2010


When someone appraises a work of human ingenuity, whether it be a piece of writing or music, or a drawing, or a design, or indeed any other thing, and declares that "It's a classic", there are three stages in its existence: the past, the present and the future. Such a work is deemed "a classic" when it transcends these three stages of actual time, that is to say, when it no longer exists in the actual period with material aesthetic or moral values where it is not longer affected by the passage of hours, the seasons and the years. To be classic is both universal and timeless.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Saddleback- Leather for gadgets

For iPads, Macbooks, Cameras, Papers, Power supply and Misc. doodads
100 yr. Warranty
Extremely protective impact absorbing construction and materials
Stout and thick Full Grain boot leather ages handsomely
Timeless Multi-use Design
Can be stretched to fit like a pistol in a holster
Strong industrial marine grade thread
Tough pigskin lining (2nd toughest hide in the world)
Go figure!

Panerai- Vintager Leather Watch Straps

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Naked and Famous Jeans comes to Loading Bay

Now this is high quality, classic denim for the Denim Vintager.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Pre Shrunk, Pre Washed, Pre Worn, Pretence

There are few shoppers who will look at pair of jeans anymore and think: 'Wow, that will look incredible two years from now when I have worn it in.' The fact is that most of the fashion denim sold nowadays is mass produced, pre-shrunk, pre-washed and pre-worn. Popular fashion culture is more often aspirational and instant in its need for gratification. This is why True Religion, Replay and Diesel are considered by many to be at the edge of 'high quality' denim. These brands do everything for you, from wearing, washing, breaking down to patching your jeans before you have even worn it. And while treated jeans has become a highly sophisticated fashion art form, I feel that there is an intrinsic fashion dishonesty in it. The wearer has not been roughing it by painting, working on a ranch, in a factory or swimming in the sea as the pair of jeans might suggest. Is it a pretend culture wearing jeans that seem like they were involved in vigorous activity when in fact all they did was sit at an office desk, walk in the mall or step side to side in a club.

It has become so normal that we don't see how odd it is that a manufacturer actually wears in your jeans in for you. This is a large reason why the denim we wear these days is no longer well crafted with top quality material- its simply not intended to last, in fact its life span is already halved. These brands are more interested in you buying your next pair of jeans as soon as possible.

Now days when I am shopping for denim even if its a well constructed pair of selvage jeans I am disappointed when I find them broken in, faded, painted or patched, especially if I like them.

For me it misses the entire point of what denim was originally designed for: hard work and adventure. Its like having a used 4x4 Landrover that sits in your driveway only because it gives you the appealing appearance of an off road adventurer, not realizing what ultimately makes things like great denim and a 4x4 cool is the actual experiences you should have with them.

The serious denim-head culture seems to be all about reinvigorating the original spirit of denim along with it's intrinsic timeless style as well as passion for living and work hard. What you do and how you wear in your jeans becomes an art form in itself. All you have to do is ask a Denim Vintager how they got their jeans to look that way and they will most likely launch into an interesting story about where they were and what they did while wearing it.

Since your denims ultimately tell a story about you and what you do, it all comes down to this question: wouldn't you like to write your own story rather than wearing some mass produced story that a few thousand other people are also wearing.

Go figure.

The Vintager Jozi Entrepreneur

Bernard Baaitjies is a well known business entrepreneur currently working in Johannessburg. His tough rags to riches story is told in the South African feature film Dollars and White Pipes. The bag says it all.

Friday, April 30, 2010

The Vintager Actor

Martin le Maitre is a Zimbabwean-born South African actor best known for his leading television roles as Billy Dwyer in the sitcom Suburban Bliss (1996), and as the hard bitten journalist Ivan Ferris in the SABC3 drama series Hard Copy.

Much of his passion however is in theatre where he has performed as Hamlet, (Best Actor nomination), as Leontes in A Winter’s Tale, and as Lucius in the British National Theatre production of Titus Andronicus.

He has toured Europe, including London's West End, with Mooi Street Moves (Fringe First Award at the Edinburgh Festival), and received a Best Supporting Actor Award for his role as JJ in Smallholding.

Martin has owned his leather bag for over 12 years since his wife gave it to him as a present and he is not keen to let it go anytime soon. This bag has seen many rehearsals and tours alike and has no doubt held some of the best play and movie scripts in its leathery bosom. Its a serious bag for a serious actor.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The Vintager Fortune Teller

This kind of story that this blog is all about. It is not just about leather and denim fanatics, its also about the everyday people and the stories their leather and denim's tell. In this case there is a fortune teller who sits next to Cafe Mozart in the Church Street walkway off Long Street in Cape Town. I have walked past him countless times watching while he gives readings to captive listeners bent over his rustic cards. I have always noticed this beautiful leather bag that sits next to him stuffed with thick frayed books. The bag itself looks wise with age; there is something almost magical about it and its contents.

I have been curious to speak to him for quite a while but never really found the opportunity or the courage, today however I decided to have a conversation with him.

His magic name is Babylon Don and he has been telling fortunes for over 20 years. He warmed up quickly to the conversation about his bag, although he found it a bit odd at first, actually ‘kinky’ was his adjective. I suppose that's the response you get for saying you have a passion for worn leather. His bag is 6 or 7 years and was given to him new by friend along with 'magic books'. It sounds like a true gift of providence for a fortune teller- a full grained hand-made leather bag containing books of magic.

Many people comment on the bag asking where they can get one or offering him money to acquire his. The bag was evidently crafted by a guy called Neville Momplain (He is not sure of the exact spelling) who was quite a prolific bag maker around Cape Town some years ago before leaving to go live in London. The bag is very basic, it has stretched over the years from being stuffed with books and often serves as a pillow too. It has developed a really rich patina that looks like a ancient treasure map with the leather grain, stains and scuff marks creating a symphony of textures and shades. Its an interesting bag for an interesting man.

Since I was talking to him I asked him what he charges to have ones fortune read. He doesn't have a fixed price, you give him what you like or what you think its worth. What’s the point, I thought, of talking to a fortune teller and not having your fortune read? For the next 45 minutes I was engrossed in his reading, most of it was broad but inspired, I found myself instinctively trying to fit what he said into the contexts of my life. Its easy to be skeptical about these things if you are looking for definitive answers. Once you let go of the idea that anyone knows the absolute truth you can see any perspective as an opportunity to look at the events and possibilities of your life with fresh eyes. He didn't tell me when I would become rich, famous, married or how many children I would have rather he said quite a few things said that were very useful. I would really recommend this as an experience if you are ever near Green Market Square, pop into Cafe Mozart and have a coffee then have your future told. It was a fun, engaging conversation with a really interesting person.

CafĂ© Mozart, surrounded by art galleries, antiquaries and clothing shops is situated just off Long Street, and offers the perfect place for regulars and tourists alike to relax and take in the sights and sounds of Cape Town. ...‎

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The Vintager Postman

As luck would have it the postman in my area is what I consider to be a true Leather Vintager. I took these pics today as he was dropping off mail. His name is Mr A Jassiem, he has his original leather post bag and has been working for the Cape Town post office for over 30 years. Owning this leather mail bag is a source of pride for him as its a testament to his long service in the postal industry. These bags are really hard to find so this is a rare sight; the new generation of postmen all have canvas bags. As you can see this leather bag has done many years of hard labour and I am sure has interesting stories to tell. I will be sure to catch a further conversation with him on his next delivery.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Artelier LaDurance- French Passion for Denim

Artelier LaDurance- Cross Pocket

I discovered Artelier La Durance in Berlin where I bought my first pair. Most of the information I have about raw denim first is inspired through this brand which celebrates the die hard philosophy of the Denim Vintager.

‘Atelier LaDurance is a small scaled, independent French denim label that has the passionate drive to make top crafted products. Based upon stylistic durability, emotion and magic. Articulating a well considered choice: ‘capitalising on quality, instead of quantity’. Aterlier LaDurance offers only unwashed japanese denim in the classic tradition of how all utility wear used to be sold ion the past. Unwashed denim is a sturdy fabric that gets a natural weathered appearance over time. Rich variations and nuances of shading and roughness of texture are what gives it that well-worn-in garment its unique personality.

The individual character if yesteryear utility-wear garments, is mainly achieved by heavy treatment and permanent wear. Washed with an outstanding laundry recipe, a well worn in denim garment will usually far exceed it’s owners expectations of performance.’

The Art of Denim 101- According to the die-hards

Red Wings Shoes- Iconic Vintager footware

Red Wings Shoes- A Classic Amercian Brand

The ultimate shoe brand for the Leather Vintager is undoubtedly Red Wing Shoes. You really understand the fanaticism about these boots when you have actually worn a pair in and they become glued to your feet. They are incredibly comfortable yet rugged combining classic style with workman wear indestructibility. And the best thing about them is that they look better and better with wear and age.

The crap thing is that they are not sold here in South Africa at all. My first pair I bought in Frankfurt, Germany of all places at a stunning Red Wing store that has been selling these shoes since 1977. Red Wing is a lifestyle and a passion to these die hards vintagers and it seemed as if you could only be allowed into their exclusive club once your Red Wings had clocked some decent mileage. When they heard that I was buying my first pair I was taunted a bit like a virgin in red light district. I had to laugh as there is something very funny and yet stylish about Germans being fanatical about an American vintage brand.

If you are ever in Frankfurt visit their store and try on a Red Wing boot

More about the Red Wings

"Every man needs a fine pair of boots; a pair that might withstand the rigours of climbing up Mt. Kenya, traipsing over Dartmoor or even sloshing through the rain swept streets of Soho. Luckily Minnesota-based company, Red Wing Shoes, makes such an item. Founded by a Mr. Charles H. Beckman in the town of, well, Red Wing actually, for the last 104 years they have been constructing the most durable, most stylish, most essential utility footwear in the world. Indeed, such is their prowess that in 1915 the entire US army trudged to the trenches in Red Wing Number 16s. In World War Two the company produced a remarkable 239 different widths and sizes for America’s armed services. In fact, they are still such sticklers for fit today that they won’t sell their shoes online. (Which, by the way, is most annoying when trying toget those gems only released in other territories!)
Essentially a manufacturer of no nonsense work boots, Red Wing initially crossed over into the street when Marlon Brando sported their classic Engineer boot in the film The Wild One (1953), thus prompting millions of bikers (including a certain Steve McQueen) to follow suit. In fact, today the Engineer boot is so synonymous with the biker style it is hard to imagine they were originally made for American steam train drivers back in the ’30s. But the really big leap into civvy street occurred in 1975 when Jack Nicholson wore the classic wedge-soled Red Wing 177 (with the Moccasin front) underneath capital ‘E’ Levi’s, sweatshirt and vintage WW2 USAF leather bomber jacket in the movie, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. Suddenly thousands of British soul boys adopted the boot, forging a whole new brigade for the bootmakers.
2005 marked Red Wing’s centenary and the launch of the quite superb Beckman Collection. Thus named after their glorious founder, it is hardly surprising to discover these shoes harking back to the original styles of the ’30s and ’40s. There can be no denying the durability of a Red Wings boot when it comes to construction, and, judging by their recent anniversary, the same can be said for their enduring popularity. Whatever fads and fashion come and go in the next 100 years, it’s hard to see these fantastic boots being stamped out."- Text by Chris Sullivan


Burg&Schild- Berlin inspiration for Red Wings and Denim

Burg & Schild- A concept for real guys, denim aficionados, idealists, all those of character, who seek clothes, not costumes.

This incredible shop Burg & Schild in Berlin is the place that really got me inspired in vintage styling of denim and leather. I was sold from the moment we walked in when we were met by the store owner who was dressed in a worn in pair of 1920 vintage levis, with old leather braces, a vintage style t-shirt and a pair of classic white Jack Purcells.

“The shop itself sell clothes that encompass an idea of a past America, with a product line that includes vintage Levis, Filson bags, Redwing boots and Stetson hats, Burg & Schild creates an image—via fashion—of rough-and-tumble, contemporary Urban Wild West. While the vision of America may be a bit romantic, their clothes are anything but. Vintage classics and new takes on jeans and work-wear translate into sturdy, inspired digs. The store is decorated accordingly, clad with an ancient race car, the smell of oil and tar and photographs of Steve McQueen.”

If you are ever in Berlin this is one shop you must visit.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Levis Denim 501

I enjoyed this article:

“I like the process- from a brand-new unwashed pair of jeans until they’re ready for burial. I really do wear them hard. I start off by doing a lot of squats to get the wrinkles in nicely. But the number one trick is wearing your jeans every single day and letting your sweat and oils start to morph the denim, so it becomes a very personal shape. I think the key difference with the 501 is that it fits around your body. I like the way that 501’s don’t follow your every curve; they evolve to fit your body. Also, as they move along, I repair them so I can get more wear out of them. They really do become a part of you. Once you break a pair in, there’s no alternative. You just can’t put on another pair of jeans.”

- Carl Chiara, design director LEVI’S CAPITAL E and RED COLLECTIONS