Tuesday, December 3, 2013
Nearly all the leather for our leather goods and watch bands comes from the Horween Leather Company, one of the last companies in America to still undertake the full production process in-house, from raw unprocessed hides to fully finished leather. Horween's legacy of handcrafting the finest leather in America stretches back to 1905, when Isidore Horween established his first tannery on Division Street in Chicago, IL. While most American tanneries have either closed their doors or moved operations overseas, Horween is still in business on the banks of the Chicago River.
The video above is narrated by Curtis T., a skilled craftsperson who has been with Horween since 1978. His job is to hand sort each piece of handcrafted leather, using both visual and tactile cues to ensure that only leather of the highest possible quality receives the Horween name. Watch the video above to hear what it means to Curtis to work for one the longest continuously-operated tanneries in America.
Friday, November 22, 2013
Sign painting is a classic American skilled trade that for generations was passed down from artist to artist via apprenticeships—with new artists often expected to train for years before being considered a true craftsman. But the entire industry nearly disappeared when the digital age introduced mechanical modes of reproduction that were far cheaper and faster than the analog methods of old.
But nothing compares to the individual artistry and charm of hand painting. And today, despite the intense competition from digital printing, a new generation of traditional sign painters are revitalizing this incredible skilled trade.
A couple months back, we were presented with the opportunity to collaborate with Colossal Media on a couple of hand painted Shinola signs in New York, and we think they turned out pretty nice. View the video above to watch these skilled craftspeople at work.
Tuesday, November 19, 2013
A bike’s typical shifting mechanism, called a derailleur, dangles quite vulnerably off the rear right side of the bike. This delicate mechanism is critical to the proper operation of a bicycle, and since it’s exposed, it is vulnerable to the weather, obstacles and other environmental factors that could damage it. Plus, a derailleur requires regular maintenance for proper functionality. Internal hubs, on the other hand, negate the need for a derailleur, and conceal the internal components so you don’t have to worry about sand, dirt, or snow getting in the mechanism. They shift without the need to pedal (which is important on urban rides) and they’re virtually maintenance free. The internal hub is a beautiful and simple piece of machinery that complements the simplicity of our bicycles and delivers consistently smooth shifting in any riding conditions, and will keep your hands, pants and skirts clean when you’re en route to the office, a date or the flea market. They just work, which lets you worry less about maintenance and more about riding safely.
Friday, November 15, 2013
Introducing Hadley-Roma, an independently-owned American manufacturing company that's been handcrafting quality watch straps in Largo, FL, since 1905. Through a commitment to quality, craftsmanship, and customer service, the company today has become the sole remaining manufacturer of leather watch straps in the United States.
We're proud to say our watch straps are made by Hadley-Roma's expert craftspeople. Watch the video above for the story behind the making of our watch straps and a look inside this legendary American company's 60,000 square foot production facility.
Tuesday, November 12, 2013
Created two centuries ago at the behest of royalty, the chronograph was a watchmaking innovation. The Runwell Chronograph is a Detroit watchmaking evolution. The rare overlap of complexity, fine precision, and elegant simplicity, it represents the next phase of a certain industrial revolution in the Motor City, where craft has been re-emphasized and skill at scale has been reaffirmed. Powered by the Argonite 5021 high-accuracy quartz movement, hand-assembled in Detroit from 84 Swiss-engineered components. Solid steel case. Sapphire crystal. Genuine Horween leather watch strap. Built at Shinola Detroit in the Argonaut building at Milwaukee and Cass.
Wednesday, November 6, 2013
We're quite proud to have our Detroit-built watches in Context Clothing—a Madison, WI, store whose impeccably curated selection of quality menswear has earned them effusive praise from the likes of GQ and the New York Times. Not bad for a small store in a small town in the middle of Wisconsin. So how'd they do it? By focusing on "classic items made exceedingly well." Or at least that's what we learned from speaking with Ryan Huber, one of the store's three owners.
We learned a few other things as well. Click through to read more.
Friday, October 25, 2013
Meet recent Detroit transplant Daniel Caudill. As Shinola's Creative Director, it's no exaggeration to say that even the most seemingly minute detail of Shinola begins with him, even down to the color of the fixtures in our flagship stores and the type of wood used for the desks in our Detroit office (walnut). Although everything at Shinola is the result of collaboration, it's safe to say that none of it would exist without Daniel's enthusiasm and imagination. We're lucky to have him, and the story of how he came to us is a long one (but we'll keep it short).
Born in Trinidad & Tobago and raised in Montana, Daniel eventually wound up in L.A. and attended the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising. After school, he became the Apparel Designer at L.A. Gear, then the Global Product Designer at Adidas, helping to take a then-small company to a global audience. From there he moved on to styling photo shoots for music videos and commercials, eventually becoming a design consultant for major American brands. Consulting brought him to Dallas, which is where he began to fill in the details of the Shinola vision when the company was just an idea among a handful of friends.
Now he's living out that Shinola vision in Detroit, and he's incredibly excited about being here. In fact, Daniel was behind the scenes pushing for the move to Detroit from the very beginning. And why is that? Well, we asked him: "There are certain cities or places that undergo truly pivotal moments, moments that history will look back on. I believe this is one of those moments in Detroit—and to be able to experience it firsthand and to participate in it…well, if you're not excited about that prospect, then maybe you should check your pulse."
We think that says it all.
Wednesday, October 23, 2013
The above photo was taken inside Horween Leather's production facility in the Bucktown neighborhood of Chicago. A family-owned company since 1905, Horween is the longest continuously-operated tannery in America, and one of the last domestic tanneries to undertake the full production process in-house. This process takes longer and the production costs are higher, but the results speak for themselves.
Friday, October 18, 2013
A fine-looking watch redolent of red hot train axles, frozen fingers, and the courageous rail workers who made early train travel a reality. The Brakeman takes its name from the not particularly long-lived locomotive brakemen of the early 1900s, and is inspired by watches of the same era. A refined and classic cushion case design with absolutely nothing soft about it, the watch is iconic with modern touches, and features a Detroit-built Argonite movement.
Tuesday, October 15, 2013
Manufacturing American selvedge jeans from the Motor City isn’t an easy task, but then again, nothing worth doing is. Detroit Denim Co. is a design studio and shop located on the second floor of Detroit’s Ponyride, a 30,000 square foot warehouse-style collective of artists and entrepreneurs. In addition to the brand’s staple 13 oz. selvedge “Heritage” straight-leg men’s jean—complete with hand-hammered copper rivets, copper buttons and gold contrast stitching—Detroit Denim Co. produces tote bags, leather bags, belts, aprons, and small leather accessories.
Eric Yelsma, the man behind Detroit Denim Co., took a few minutes from his workday to chat with us. Click through to see the result of our conversation, and to see photographs from the Detroit Denim workspace.
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