August 23 2014

styledotcom Are designers running out of ideas? Or are straightforward clothes a sign of times? via @CathyHorynNYT

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Buffalo Soldiers


It would take an American heritage aficionado—or maybe a Hopi Indian—to identify the heavily textured leather Parabellum uses for its rugged accessories. Designer Commodore Jason Jones discovered the longevity of the buffalo as a child in Hollywood at Used Stuff, his stepfather’s antiques store, where he became fascinated by a turn-of-the-century gun holster. Jones’ father, who was in fact born on a Hopi reservation, explained that the holster was still so soft after a hundred years because it was made from American bison hide. That fact stayed with him, and after working with Armani and as a leatherworking apprentice with Henry Duarte in Los Angeles, Jones was ready to indulge his passion. He and his partner, Mike Feldman, launched their accessories collection Parabellum to pay homage to an inherently American kind of luxe. “The American buffalo has made a comeback over the past half century,” Jones says. “They were almost extinct by the late 1800′s and now there’s 500,000 of them.”

Parabellum—from the Latin for “If you desire peace, prepare for war”—works with free-range ranchers and a micro-tannery in the Midwest, which Jones visits to oversee the cutting of each hide. Using 15-year-old bison without stretching or shrinking the hides gives the leather a unique soft, wrinkled texture; it also ensures that each piece is unique. The bags and computer cases are accessorized with military-grade ceramic hardware and Kevlar-lining, with hand-skiving and hand-turned corners. The range—which also includes belts and iPad cases—was originally intended for men, but after getting snatched up by girls, Jones and Feldman added women’s styles, too. Colette, Japan’s Tomorrowland, and L.A.’s Maxfield all quickly picked up the collection, and it arrives at Bergdorf Goodman just in time for Father’s Day.

Photo: Courtesy of Parabellum

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