Handcrafted. Heirloom quality. Hand-stitched, hand-oiled. People throw those words around like they’re nothing these days. We found a company where they truly mean every word. Brothers Kirk and Chris Bray are leathermakers and the founders of Billykirk, handcrafted leather goods made on the East Coast with a team of authentic Amish craftsmen.
At Billykirk it’s all about going back to your roots and creating something to pass down for generations to come. Their bags are honest and down to earth without being simple or unsophisticated. Quirky, with a rough and tumble sort of appeal that combines weathered with hardcore…and the quality is impeccable.
Kirk says “We emphasize the understated, keeping the designs simple and fresh. We have never been ones to add garish or tacky details. Our particular aesthetic does not necessarily want to be the focus of attention, but instead blend into the wearer’s everyday clothing choice.”
A few of our favorites from Billykirk:
The No. 95 Shoulder Satchel. As classic as Chanel Number 5 but for men, and in physical accessory form. Designed after a WWII Belgium Map Case Chris and Kirk found at a rummage sale, this is an expanded version of the smaller original. Sturdy and strong, like the soldiers who used it to find their way in treacherous territories. The larger version does mean it can be perceived as ‘murse-like’ but only when worn by the wrong guy. This satchel ought to blend into you, instead of trying to fit yourself around it. It’s a bit of history holding your iPad, WSJ, or even a real book. A piece of the past with a part of the future inside. Which color to get? The tan wears in expertly. Chris says, “After you feel one of our bags or belts you just know that it’s made right. It’s timeless. We’ll be using this in 25 years. It’s not trend driven.” His own worn in No. 95 Shoulder Satchel featured here.
The No. 117 Mechanics Belt. A real mans belt. Without studs, spikes, bells or whistles, and they even hide any sign of metal. A quality piece of cowhide holding up your Levis or Indochino suit pants, interchangeably. It was inspired by a belt created for the auto industry, with the flap of leather protecting the cars paint job. Exactly the same concept applied here, this belt appears seamless and makes a statement with a less is more attitude. Cool for guitarists who don’t want to bang up a beautiful Les Paul with their buckle, and fashion forward for VPs who are tired of sacrificing style for appropriate attire. We liked the black best, very Johnny Cash…a true investment piece.
Like William S. Burroughs said…“You can’t fake quality anymore than you can fake a good meal.”
*Tried & Tested. Alister & Paine practices old-school journalistic integrity. We only write from experience–never press releases. If we haven’t tried it and loved it you won’t find it in our magazine.