Rileau – Knotted & Tapered Belt

During the second World War, pretty much all of the metal working was diverted to outfit the military. Civilians had to make do or be resourceful. Roger Rileau thus crafted two belts – neither of which relied on rivets, buckles, or even stitches. In addition to being made of one piece of leather, each belt is cut by hand without a pattern.

Knotted Belt

The “Knotted Belt” is the first of the buckle-less belts. It uses a rather intricate knot system which nonetheless is reputedly easy to learn. As an insurance policy, the belt comes with a woodblock print which demonstrates the step-by-step. (Points for some serious era-specific processes going on here).

Tapered Belt

The second and more elegant version is the “Tapered Belt.” Rather than using one vertical slot, this belt uses one vertical and one horizontal slot through which to loop the belt. Both are designed to be worn by both men and women, but I think these belts over the years have accrued a somewhat feminine slant. But no matter who has it on, the important thing is to appreciate a great moment of ingenuity in American craftsmanship.

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