Well-worn: Final Review of Barrett Alley’s “Valerie” and “Bipartisan” Bracelets

Well it’s been three months since I donned two handmade leather bracelets by Barrett Alley for a review. Seeing as this is the final installment (at least for a long, long while), I thought it would be cool to put together a time lapse to track the patina as it developed with daily wear. The gradient is pretty amazing:

Valerie in Natural (left) & Bipartisan in reverse Shell Cordovan #8 (right)

Valerie in Natural (left) & Bipartisan in reverse Shell Cordovan #8 (right)

You’ll notice that both the Valerie and the Bipartisan bracelets changed drastically in only a matter of weeks. That said, the other surface of the reversible Bipartisan behaved very differently. It turns out that after three months of constant wear, the outer shell cordovan is basically just the way it was from day one. Granted the edges are darker (specifically on the outside of the mystery braid), but other than that it’s like new:

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(Literal) Case Study: Carrying Your Glasses

It makes no sense to buy a nice pair of sunglasses only to let them get scratched up. If you’re shelling out for your shades, you might as well get a handcrafted leather carrying case to keep them safe. Below are my top two you need to consider before making the jump. While they approach the case from two very different perspectives, they are both premium examples of true American craftsmanship.

1) Tanner Goods Sunglass Case

Tanner Goods – Sunglass Case Back Profile in Russet

Hailing from the Tanner Goods studio in Portland, Oregon studio, this case is cut, sewn, and finished completely by hand. Crafted from 4/5 oz. Horween Chromexcel leather, this case has enough cushion to keep your glasses safe while remaining malleable enough to conform to a variety of different frames. It is pictured in the gallery below in Natural, Russet, & Black but is also available in Olive, Havana, Tan, & Oxblood. Any of the seven different colorways are sure to develop striking contrasts in hue thanks to the tried and true 100+ year old tanning formula developed at Horween Tannery in Chicago.

2) Barrett Alley “Dom” Sunglass Case

Barrett Alley – Dom Case in Russet

The goods at Barrett Alley are all completely benchmade with an extreme attention to detail. This case uses one piece of domestically tanned leather, whether it’s shell cordovan from Illinois or straight bovine from Pennsylvania. Each case is lined with one of three antique textiles from America, France, and Japan – or is left well enough alone exposing the soft underside of the leather. As always it will develop character with use and abuse, just mind your glasses.

As always, scroll through the gallery for detailed images and different colorways:

Barrett Alley Deerskin Wallet

Bark-tanned deerskin pre-patina

Bark-tanned deerskin pre-patina

Everyone knows the devil is in the details. Naturally, I prefer to take a more optimistic stance on that subject. In designing something, I find that details offer opportunities to truly shine through your work. After years of exposure to different artisans and products, I’m happy to report that I’m not alone. The leather goods from Barrett Alley are among the most carefully composed pieces I’ve seen to date. To start, he sources materials from the best suppliers throughout the world – and even throughout time. Often he will include hard to find antique textiles in his work, bringing together different times and traditions of craftsmanship.

"Umakake" - or horse blanket - accent

“Umakake” – or horse blanket – accent

For his Devilish Deerskin No. 4 wallet, he relied on a hunter-harvested deerskin which was  naturally bark-tanned in Texas. As if the materials weren’t unique enough, the inside is lined with a Meiji period horse blanket which was hand-woven and dyed with pure indigo. Finally relying on waxed linen thread for added durability, everything is cut, stitched, and finished by hand. How bout them details?

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