The Portland Leather Renaissance

Portland Leather
Portland’s come a long way from its original days as a gritty, old frontier/port town with a predilection for logging. Hell, Portland’s changed a lot since its heyday as the epicenter of all things good and grungy about the 1990s; this despite that TV show Portlandia and the concept of retro-cool.

Since start of the 21st century, you’ve probably heard about Portland the beer mecca, Portland the coffee capitol,  Portland the foodie fave and Portland the hipster haven; all true. And while you still might hear Temple of the Dog on the radio at a food truck that serves Transylvanian food or find flannel sold in farm-to-table coffee shops, Portland’s latest, newest, fck-yeah export falls squarely in the classic and timeless category: Leather.

That’s right. Portland leather is fck-yea. And, it’s got heritage, all starting way back in those 1930s depression days with Danner, who became known for their high-quality, sht kicking leather boots. Perfect for timber town. Known just as much for their rugged style as they are for their quality construction and steely sturdiness, they’re experiencing a renaissance these days; just as likely be found in true-blue outdoors stores as inside style-minded men’s boutiques. Kinda like Red Wings, ten years ago. They make a lot of models, but we say start with the Stumptown Collection—throwback, but not so much to be rendered a costume, with the Mountain Light Overton, Vertigo and Tramline being the models that most easily translate from the field into everyday wear.

The creative entrepreneurial spirit of modern day Portland has expanded upon the house which Danner built, giving an artisanal edge to all imaginable products that can be crafted from cowhide. Like things for beer or your bike (or both at the same time), a specialty of Walnut Studio which is really just a dude, Geoffrey Franklin and his wife Valerie who call their home garage their studio. We are obsessed with their handmade equestrian grade leather beer carriers, which come in a six-pack 12 oz. bottle size or a four-pack 22 oz. version. Another small-scale operation doing some big things is Wood & Faulk, or really a guy named Matt Pierce, whose leather accessories are made with the outdoorsman in mind, like a hand crafted English bridle leather camp stool, Horween leather wallets and cordovan watch straps.

On a slightly larger scale, Tanner Goods, started in 2005 is a collective of leather craftsmen inspired by legendary Washington saddle maker L.P. Streifel. Each piece is made by hand using tools that date back to the early 20th century and are based on a philosophy of less is more. Meaning, perfect leather belts, gloves and wallets and even some handsome collars and leashes for your four legged friends.

Orox Leather is a family based company that uses time-tested, heritage techniques from Oaxaca, Mexico (the name is a compression of Or for Oregon and Ox for Oxaca, where the Martinez family traces their ancestry). For years they were only available at Portland’s weekly outdoor market, but after growing a cult following in 2012, they opened an online shop and brick and mortar store in the city’s old town section, featuring an open studio where you watch the Martinez’s hand make everything sold in the store. A handsome mixed canvas and leather pannier bag, a leather bike handle and a sturdy tool roll up that attaches to bikes are our favorites.

The new Portland leather industry has something for just about everyone even leather jackets, which, when you think about it, have to be made to last. The one thing that hasn’t changed in Portland though the years: It rains. A lot.

Fashion & Style

Meet Corridor, the Fashionable Clothing Company Founded by a Former FBI Agent

"I was going to transfer over to CIA from FBI, and I went to graduate school during the process. I started tailoring clothes on the side just to make money."
Food & Drink

Skrewball’s Peanut Butter Whiskey Begs the Question: Is Nothing Sacred?

Peanut butter-flavored whiskey seems like the answer to a question no one was asking.
Food & Drink

Keep Oktoberfest Going Year-Round with Jaegerschnitzel

Just because Oktoberfest only lasts for a few weeks doesn’t mean you should stop eating and drinking like it's over.
Food & Drink

21st Amendment is Bringing ‘Tasty’ IPA Back

The can art no longer features an illustration of McDole swimming in a sea of hop cones. Now, it’s Benjamin Franklin’s turn to bathe in the verdant sea.
Fashion & Style

The Best Fall Sales on Menswear and Gear This Weekend

Jackets, outdoor gear, watches, shoes — you name it, we've found a deal on it.
Fashion & Style

Layer Up for Fall ASAP with the Best Men’s Puffy Vests

Get in-vested in this quintessential fall style staple.
Outdoors

15 Best Travel Pants for Hiking, Exploring, and Everything in Between

Our favorite, all-around travel pants are suitable for every environment and activity, from finding comfort on the plane to finding adventure outdoors.
Fashion & Style

Weather the Season in Style with the Best Men’s Boots for Fall

These boots were made for walking ... in the crisp autumn air.
Fashion & Style

Stock Up on the Best Crewneck Sweatshirts for Men this Fall

The best crewneck sweatshirts are warm, stylish, and easy to layer.
Fashion & Style

What to Wear Tailgating: Fall Style Essentials for Football Fans

Snag these tailgating style basics before the next game.
Fashion & Style

Keep it Cozy with These Seven Warmest Winter Socks

Winter means padding around your pad in the softest, warmest socks possible.