August 27 2014

styledotcom In a sea of #Emmys red, @nlyonne stood out in @openingceremony. Humberto Leon discusses:

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3 posts tagged "Parabellum"

Ultra-Luxe Leather Goods Label Parabellum Sets Up Shop on Melrose


parabellum-sizedBorn out of the desire to craft the finest leather goods in the world, Parabellum has set out to carve its own well-constructed path since 2008. Working most heavily with the American bison, the inventive L.A.-based brand has created leather goods ranging from men’s duffels and women’s clutches to valets and key chains that are anything but precious. Using age-old techniques to give the leather an elegant but still natural feel, each creation is tough, textured, and luxurious—and all with an ode to the relentless spirit of the American West. Just days shy of opening their first stand-alone retail space this Friday on Melrose Avenue, creative director Jason Jones and president Mike Feldman spoke exclusively to about this important step for the brand, why bison is best, and what we can expect next from this leather pioneer.

Why open the store now?
Mike Feldman: Honestly, this has been our dream and our plan for more than five years. It took a while for us to find the right location, and it took a while for us to get our brand reach to the level where people needed to see the full collection in one location. We have 35 different items and we have 11 different leather colors and there are three different hardware options, so there is a tremendous library of goods that we’re really proud of.

Jason Jones: And to be able to design the furniture and everything and show the brand as a whole, it’s really exciting for us.

Will there be anything exclusive to the store offered?
JJ: We’ve been planning on doing a lot of things that are specific to the store, like special projects and collaborations and more expensive things that might not be able to be carried by other stores.

MF: It allows us to really do a lot of things that we’ve thought about but we never necessarily had the reach to do through wholesale. We can try things like jewelry and clothing.

How would you classify your brand?
JJ: It’s really a new version of American luxury. It’s something that we really haven’t seen in the market, and that’s why we came. We felt like there was a hole.

How do you think your design is different?
JJ: We design everything to last—that’s really a key element of what we do. A lot of the handles are removable and interchangeable, we really look at longevity and how things are going to wear, that’s really important to us. We want things to get better with time, not worse, so that’s a super-important chief goal for us—how it wears and how long it lasts.

MF: You can look at the material first off. Our materials are completely off the grid. The combination of bison and ceramic—certainly when we entered this business, nobody was using either, and we’re using both and putting them together in a way that I think is a little different. Just that juxtaposition of old and new is something we’re very proud of, and I think being a younger brand allows us to not have to repeat the greatest hits of before. We get to actually create with our eyes right now, in this world, with all the information that we have and all the interactions that we have. It allows us to be a little bit different without having to go back to the well of the past. This is our now and these are our glory days, so we can really get into it.

How is sustainability built into your design and production process?
MF: Three ways. One is the fact that our goods are built to last forever. They’re a little bit more expensive because they’re built that way and there’s a cost to that, but they last forever. The second way would be our production. All of our production is right here, it’s 10 minutes from our new store, and we make everything here in L.A. And the third is the materials. The bison leather that makes up the majority of what we do is sourced from free-range animals from North America, and it’s all North American-raised and free-range and not in factory conditions. And hides are shipped to domestic micro-tanneries where everything is tanned to EPA standards. A lot of leathers are done overseas, and there’s a reason 99 percent of the tanneries that existed in this country in 1900 no longer exist here. It’s not that people aren’t using leather, it’s that people are doing a lot of their tanning in other countries where the laws are a little less stringent about how you treat the environment, and we take the environment very seriously.

How has being in the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund changed your perspective?
JJ: It’s nice that it connected us to New York, and via the television show, it really connected us to the world, so we have a much wider audience now. It gave us more time and energy to explain the brand to the world, and that was the important thing for us.

MF: We’re L.A. guys, so when we do business in New York, we show up and we leave. The CFDA process is in the middle of the storm, so we get to really see how it works. It inspired us to work harder, to work faster, and to work smarter to be on that level.

What’s next?
MF: We’ve got some really exciting new handbags that we’re getting ready to launch in September at Barneys. We started as a very small company and we’re still very small and we just keep going.

Parabellum, 8251 Melrose Avenue, Los Angeles, 90046. For more information, visit

Photo: Drew Schwartz

A Perfect Pair: Oliver Peoples and Parabellum


In a craftsman meeting of the minds, Oliver Peoples has joined forces with fellow Los Angeles-based luxury label Parabellum for a limited-time run. “It’s an honest L.A. collab. It’s very local and a very organic project,” Mike Feldman, one half of Parabellum’s founding team, along with Jason Jones, said of the partnership. “We’re actually right down the street.” For Lise Tyler, design director of Oliver Peoples, collaborating offered her the chance to contribute to a design process that bears integrity to each brand. “They have a similar discoverability that Oliver Peoples does.”

Handcrafted locally in Los Angeles, the exclusive design is a riff on the iconic seventies-inspired Linford aviator imagined in two wearable limited-edition colors—one in matte black with custom black acetate detailing and another in rose gold with Sahara tortoise acetate detailing.

“They’re instantly recognizable as Oliver Peoples,” Tyler explained of the unisex frame’s temple detailing. “And we’ve been able to add another discoverable detail for the wearer since we do custom glass lenses,” Tyler said excitedly of the breath logo that is revealed when you breathe on the lens. Known for their work in bison leather, the duo behind Parabellum set out to create an accompanying case that was of equal importance to the glasses. “We went through the history of older cases and it really came down to functionality,” Jason Jones explained of the lightweight bison leather pocket case, their first foray into eyeglass cases. For his partner, Feldman, it came down to the set’s local-leaning elements. “The way that houses are built and designed and decorated in L.A., things are done really well but they’re not done in a rigid fashion, they flow. Between the glasses and the case, there’s a natural flow and feel.” For her part, Tyler stands in agreement: “The materials they use are super high-end but really understated in a way that feels very L.A.” Cue the Indian Summer.

Oliver Peoples for Parabellum, $695, available now at Patron of the
New, 151 Franklin Street, NYC, (212)-966-7144, and at Oliver Peoples boutiques starting September 1.

Photo: Courtesy Photo

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