Born out of a love for boats and the open sea, designers Dave Bruenner and Chris Schmidt created Jack Iron, a new line of nautically-inspired handcrafted leather belts and accessories, which made its debut on Kickstarter this past week.
The story of Jack Iron begins in Boston, where the two designers met while working as bankers, work that neither found to be particularly fulfilling.
“We both felt disconnected from the work,” starts Schmidt. “We would have these long walks through the streets of Boston. We’d share ideas, talk about our dreams and creative aspirations, all the while thinking it’d be cool to build something together.”
Related: What to Wear: On a Boat
The opportunity for collaboration eventually came after Bruenner swapped banking for boat-building and approached Schmidt with an idea for a belt inspired by the classic nautical snap-shackle ring.
“For the longest time, belts haven’t really changed from the belts our parents wore,” says Bruenner. “But this new hardware is totally different. You can dress it up, dress it down, there’s no wrong way to wear it. We love seeing how people play around with it.”
The hardware itself is simple and interchangeable, borrowing not only from the snap-shackle design, but also from iconic nautical knots. Plus, the materials, including the vast array of metals and leathers, are locally sourced.
“We’re very into promoting American manufacturers, so we source our American cowhide leather from a shop in Pennsylvania, which we then send to our strap and assembly partner in Red Hook, Brooklyn,” states Schmidt.
Bruenner adds, “It’s been invaluable for us to work with someone locally or just in the US that we can call, drive to, shake their hand and really be partners.”
And though the duo definitely sees customization with these materials happening in the future, for now, they’re offering two designs to the public, a thin light-brown leather belt featuring a Hitch shackle (imagine a figure 8) and a thicker-strapped dark brown leather belt featuring a Bowline shackle (basically, a large loop.)
To find out more, check out their Kickstarter campaign, which features photos, videos and a bevy of cool rewards for backers, including wallets, belts, dog leashes and more!