Welcome to Full Cow, a podcast about leather and kink where your host, Edge (he/him), shares his 30+ years of experience in the community. This time our theme is leather.
In the first segment, Edge shares the history of how he "does leather" by considering questions of style and aesthetics. Then, in the second segment, we discuss how to get started in leather--what to buy and in what order. Finally, for our third segment we talk to Jackson of Ben Orson leather to get leather maker's perspective.
Like the sound of leather creaking in the podcast? Let me know with a quick email to edge-at-fullcow.show (yes, fullcow.show NOT .com). Also, is it just me or is the sound a little uneven on this episode? Sorry folks... I am still working out my audio skills but hope to continue to improve.
Another great reason to get chaps: adjustable waist band. Chaps are a resilient item that can fit you even as your body changes shape. And, when buying chaps, look for an inside zipper, which is more classically typical of the bar chap.
Support the show
Ask Edge! Go to https://www.speakpipe.com/LTHREDGE to leave ask a question or leave feedback. Find Edge's other content on Instagram and Twitter. Also visit his archive of educational videos, Tchick-Tchick.
Hey, let's talk about leather this podcast contains material intended for a mature audience. Before proceeding, please check your local laws and confirm that you are an adult. Welcome to full cow, a podcast about leather kink and BDSM. My name is edge My pronouns are he him, and I will be your host. And I am so grateful you're joining us for another episode, a little bit of housekeeping first. In the first few episodes of this podcast, I was wearing my language jacket to get some beautiful leather creaking sounds. But when I ran the podcast through some alpha testers, some of them felt that those sounds actually pulled them out from deep listening. Others of them absolutely loved it. So I'm kind of split on whether or not to keep the leather creaking. So the next three episodes including this one will not have leather creaking, let me know what you like. And I'll know what to do once we get to Episode Six. But for this episode, we are focusing on leather, specifically, the aesthetics of leather, the styling of leather, what to get, where to get it and how to take care of it. In the first segment, I'll share a little bit of my story of how I developed my own leather aesthetic. In the second segment, I'll share with you my thoughts on what you should buy, in what order. And finally, we're going to have an interview with Jackson of Ben Orson leather, a custom leather maker who will help us learn more about custom leather. I think it's a great episode, and I hope you enjoy it. So let's get started. In this segment, I want to share my sense of how I do leather and why I do it that way. But that presupposes a very important distinction that we should probably examine. And that is the simple fact that leather and kink are two entirely different things. You can be into leather as a fetish, you can wear it out and you can come home and have plain old vanilla sex. And you can be extraordinarily kinky and not own a scrap of leather except perhaps a fine collection of floggers. And although those circles make a very interesting Venn diagram that nearly overlaps, I do want to create space for people who are just into leather or not kinky, and people who are just kinky and not into leather. Those are legitimate positions to be in. That is not my position, I am definitely in the overlap of that circle. And when I talk about how I do leather, that also implies there are lots of ways to do leather. You can do leather with a sort of fashion edge to it you can draw from punk, you can draw from heavy metal. Those are different influences in how leather is worn and styled. All of these are also very legitimate. I just happen to think the way I do leather is the best way to do leather. But it's important to me to legitimize every person's way of doing leather, because that's how I secure my right to leather my way. I like to think of it a little bit like the leather bar, my leather bar. Everyone is welcome in my leather bar. Track we enjoy welcome. straight women with their kinky friends are welcome. The serious hardcore Classic Leather men, Tama Finland types are welcome. The punks and the Goths and everyone is welcome in my leather bar. In part, that's because I need my leather bar to stay open. And lots of people in the bar means lots of businesses for the bar, which means the bar stays open. And important. It's about an understanding that no matter who's at that bar, the men who are into doing leather, the way I do it are going to see me find me and want me so it doesn't matter who else is there or what they're wearing. My presence there secures a position for me. And in doing that I can secure a position for everyone else. That's a good analogy as well for the community. I want the community to be wide and expansive. I want everyone to be in the community, because that's part of what keeps the community strong and growing. So what is the way I do a leather? How would I describe it? You know, before I did this episode, I would have thought that if you'd asked me I'd say my style of leather is classic, but you know what? It's not if you look at pictures of Leatherman from the 70s their leather is very what I would call the dazzled there's a lot of studs and spikes and a lot of metal on their leather. And that's not how I do leather so my leather is not classic. I would probably describe it instead. As clean and well fitting. I like high quality hides. I like clothes that are relatively clean lines, simple proportions, but that fit me well, and that sound like I'm talking about a classic piece of fashion. And in some ways I am. Leather is a fashion even though we might want to try to separate it from the kind of feminized aspects that our culture assigns to things like fashion, it is a fashion. And my fashion sense is clean, almost minimal and very well fitting. I learned how to do leather from two places, from people and from images. Particularly during the 90s I was living in the gravitational well of New York City. I was actually in New Jersey, but if you're in New Jersey, you're really just in a suburb of New York. And that meant I spent a lot of time in the city around serious beautiful, fantastic Leatherman at bars, like the old spike, the old eagle, and also the lure, and I saw men that I wanted. And I didn't just pay attention to the man I wanted, I paid attention to what he was wearing, and how he was wearing it. What boots went with what pants, what vest was worn over what shirt, I paid attention, because I didn't just want those men. I wanted to be like those men. The other place I really learned how to do leather was through images, particularly once the internet took off, and it was taking off a little bit in the late 90s. Very slow, we did not have high speed internet. I mean, I had a modem plugged into a phone line. It was goodness, it was ancient technology, but it got me some images if I was patient enough. And I discovered some classic leather images from things like the red tox loon series. Or once I found different sites or things like leather navigator, I saw all these images Leatherman. And again, it wasn't simply that I was aroused by the man and getting off or trying to meet them. It was also that I was paying very close attention, studying what they were wearing and how I remember the first time I saw a pair of codpiece pants, and I put it on the list of things I wanted. I remember when I saw my first pair of leather breeches and appeared on the list of things I wanted, I kept an ongoing list of looks, I wanted to assemble based on the impact they had on my heart, mind, soul and body. And that's sort of how I learned to cultivate my particular way of doing leather. And I think the lesson here that I really want you to take away besides the fact that however you do leather, it is perfectly legitimate. The other man's sin is that doing leather and aesthetic of leather is a learned thing often learn through imitation. So if you want to learn how you really should be doing leather, pay attention to the images of leather people you're looking at, and studying them. What are they wearing? How are they wearing it? What are they wearing it with? That's how I learned that kind of limitation. And that is also available to you. Why do I do leather the way I do it? Well, they're certainly fundamental sensory experience about leather in general. It engages every one of the senses, it looks a certain way it sounds a certain way it feels a certain way. It tastes a certain way. It smells a certain way. All the senses are engaged by leather. And that's why I love good quality leather that has the best sensory experience. Love it. It was one of my very first fetishes. Very first fetishes. I remember when I was young, I was looking at the Sears catalog. And some of you, I imagine have never even heard of Sears but it was this huge department store where you could buy everything from lawn mowers to lingerie to Christmas toys. And every year there'd be this big catalog right around Christmas. So we could pick our toys. I would remember looking through these images of man and leather jackets, and they had an effect on me. So my leather finish goes very, very deep. And it grants me that sensory experience. That is a part of the bodily pleasure for me. Like I actually get hard from the sensory experience of leather. But the other reason why I do leather the way I do it, is that it it grants me entry to something, perhaps I could call it a kind of headspace. But I think it's really something more. Now if you've listened to any of the other episodes, you might know that I have a dubious relation with what I call woowoo I both crave and love and live all kinds of spiritual aspects of leather kink and BDSM even though my heart and mine still will remain completely irrational and not necessarily give in to the woowoo. But in this instance, if I were to give into the woowoo I would say that I believe that there is a platonic ideal, the leather man the abstraction of all our leather desires, the archetype and I have spent well over half my life, trying to look like that archetype. Apart of importance, of course isn't about sex, I was looking to get laid. And if you look like the archetype, a lot of men want you, it's really handy. I will say that. But it was more than about sex, there was also something very spiritual about it to me that there's a kind of energy connected to leather, which Prosaically I might call hyper masculine, and it's a hyper masculine imagery is a hyper masculine energy. I resist that a little bit, because so much of masculinity can be toxic. And I don't want that to bleed into something that is so sacred and spiritual for me. But there is an energy, a very masculine energy, which I feel is very productive, it is very generative is more fatherly than patriarchal. And that energy is something I gain access to when I'm in leather, I am literally bigger than myself in leather. And literally, because at five foot seven 1.7 meters, when I'm in boots, I'm a little bit taller. But also something larger projects from me, I have what I like to call presence with a capital P, there's a gravitas to my presence of gravitas to my stature of gravitas to the way I move through the world. And that all comes from wearing leather. And so the reason I do leather this way, is both purely physical, purely about pleasure, purely about the sensory. But it's also very deeply, I have to admit, spiritual in a very woowoo way, in that I am both tapping into the platonic ideal. And in doing that, I am keeping it alive. I am manifesting it in the world for others to see and participate in. And I am fed by it. I am fed by it, and I feel it moving in me. And it feels really good. So that's why I do leather, my way. But the big lesson from this entire segment is you do leather your way. And it's perfectly legitimate, perfectly legitimate. And don't let anyone else tell you otherwise. You know, on Facebook recently, I've seen a lot of posts, controversy controversies around certain gatekeepers, and I'm not sure exactly what happened. But I guess someone told someone that they weren't a leather person because of something or couldn't get into an event because they were only wearing something else. I don't, I don't even know the actual logistics of the incident that happened. But I understand the concept. There are some people who have an exclusive sense of how to leather with an understanding that if you don't do it precisely that way, somehow, it's wrong. And therefore you should not have access to the community. And all the benefits that come with the community, including connection, friendships, relationships, safety, protection, growth. That's not, that's not for me, I do love the way I do. And I invite everyone else to do it the way they do. And in part, as I said earlier, is because I really do think I do it the right way. And I kind of feel like if you hang around me long enough, you're gonna want to do it my way to and by my securing your right to do leather, however the hell you want to do it. That's how I secure my right to do leather as well. So I invite you to reflect on your aesthetic, on the ways you do leather, I invite you to look for images that have an impact on your mind, body and soul and to examine them to sort of deconstruct the ways in which the leather is worn, and assembled, and combined. So that you can grow towards that ideal, your own ideal. I also really invite you to not just consider the sensory aspects of leather, but the larger woowoo ish kind of mysterious semi spiritual aspects of leather. I think these are the ways I find meaning in what I do. And I think that's part of why I enjoy it so much that it's not just sex. I tell people that leather is aesthetics, it has culture in his community, it has sex, it has spirit, it has all these things that run through every fiber of my being. And I hope that's true for you too. I want to at least offer you the promise that it could be true for you too. If you take the time to cultivate the way you do leather and I hope you find a way that works for you beautifully. And please when you do come to my bar, I will be doing leather my way. Having a big cigar somewhere outdoors where I can actually have a cigar and I will see you and ignore want you as part of my community as well? Because there's room for all of us really, the leather bar is extraordinarily expensive. And the larger the community grows, the more we all win. So you're ready to get into leather? What do you buy first? Well, first of all, I'm assuming you already have your short lace up boots. If you don't, please go listen to the boots episode where I explain why that's a really great place to start. Assuming you have your short lace up boots, though, the first thing I would recommend is a vest. Now everyone wants to get leather pants and I get it because other so much leather to feel and they look so hot, but I do not recommend that for three reasons. Number one, leather pants are fairly expensive. Number two, in a bar contexts are actually hard to see if you're walking around through a bar, you're mostly seeing what's on top, you don't really get as good look on what's on bottom. And number three. If you'd like to have sex and leather depending on the kind of sex you like, there's a good chance you're gonna have to take off the leather pants and what's the fun in that so I recommend instead of vest, a vest is incredibly versatile. You can wear it with a T shirt, you can wear it with some tank tops, you can wear it with a dress shirt, you can wear it with a long sleeve flannel shirt, you can wear it with a harness underneath. You can wear it with absolutely nothing underneath, it's good in the winter, it's good in the fall, it's good in the spring, it's good in the summer, you can wear it year round, it's sort of like little black dress, you know it is a fashion staple. And we're really going to be focusing on your leather staples, the items you will go to again and again and again and invest is one of those for me. I will also say a Festus great, because it has a wonderful slimming effect, it creates a kind of clean vertical line down the center of the body. And it hides all what I call the pledge plops love handles for whatever you have on the side of your body. Sometimes it's good to cover those up. A vest is also a great idea. Because it's really relatively affordable. I just bought a new vest for Mr. S, which I love. It has a beautiful cut to it. And it was only $150. Now, that's still a lot of money, particularly in a post COVID economy. But when you compare that to five to $700 for leather pants, well it's not that bad a place to start. When you're shopping for a vest, you want to make sure you get a bar vest and not a biker vest. A biker vest will have snaps or buttons down the center and perhaps a front pocket. That's not what you want. You want a bar vest, it has a smooth front, and it does not snap or anything in the center. In fact, there's a gap in the center where you show whatever beautiful chest hair or smooth skin you happen to have. And when we think about this, we need to keep in mind as well that most of the leather we wear we borrowed from other contexts. In this case we borrowed it from bikers, but when we borrow it, we also make it sexy. So the bar vest is a lot, lot sexier than a biker vest, you will probably have some sort of yoke on the back and that's fine. There's usually a small pocket inside one of the front parts of the vest. I don't use it because things fall out of it. In terms of fit. The general rule of thumb is that the lines of the vest should be in alignment with your nipples for most Parvus styles. So get your vest first. The second item I like to recommend is a pair of chaps chaps are not worn as much as they used to be when I was coming out. The classic image of the leather man was chaps and a motorcycle jacket. That was sort of the image you carried in your head so chaps were all the time and I don't see chaps worn a lot and that's a shame. I still recommend chaps as your second piece of leather. Because they're so versatile. Again, you can wear them over jeans, you can in some instances, wear them over shorts, you can wear them over a jock you can wear them with absolutely nothing at all. And that means chaps are extraordinarily good for leather sex because they provide full access to whatever genital configurations you happen to have. Once again we are talking bar chaps not biker chaps. Generally speaking, biker chaps will buckle in the front. They tend to be cut really kind of baggy in the crotch in the butt. Bar chaps generally snapped in the front. They'll have a lace up in the back to help adjust the waist but critically, they're tight, very tight at the crotch and at the ass. Why? Because that's what we want to frame. That's where we want the eye to go to the crotch and to the ass. In fact, a really good pair of chaps, the back of the chaps should should just sort of rub right under the buttocks, kind of lifting them like a butt bra. chops are really good second item. After that, then you can think about getting a good pair of leather pants. And I recommend a simple pair of FIVE POCKET leather jeans, you may want to get lace up the side you may want to get crazy colors, you may want to get piping you may want to get codpiece. But again, we're thinking about staples, foundational items, things that will last and that you will wear again and again and again and again. And also things that never go out of style. And a good pair of FIVE POCKET leather jeans will serve you for as long as you can fit into them, which hopefully will be all of your life. I like to look for nice, tight grain on the leather. I don't like leather, that's very pebbled looking, I don't find that as sensual and experience for me. I like a tight crane on the leather. I like the leather to be very soft. And I generally make sure there's no horizontal seam running across the legs. Because that's an indication the legs were not cut from a single height. And it's usually an indication that the pants are a little bit lower quality. We're definitely going up in price here, a pair of leather pants will easily cost you $500 maybe as much as $700 or more, this becomes a significant investment. But again, these are items that are going to serve you hopefully for a very long time. After you get pants, then consider a uniform shirt. The uniform shirt is now part of the classic image of the leather man. You know before I talked about how, when I was coming out, the leather man was wearing a pair of chaps and wearing a motorcycle jacket. These days though, I feel like the image that circulates in the leather imaginary, at least in the gay male American context is the leather uniform. And the first key part of that is the uniform shirt. Again, you may want to get lots of colors, you may want to get lots of piping, I would recommend a good plain black leather uniform shirt, two pockets on the front snaps applets. That's it. It should be well fitting. And most importantly, I like to check the proportions. Sometimes I see a leather uniform shirt where the front pockets just look too big. I wish I could provide a better description than that. But they just look too big. So really kind of trust your eye and trust how it feels on you. The biggest rule of thumb is that if you feel sexy wearing it, it's a good thing for you. We're moving towards assembling a leather uniform. Before we get there, though, you have to make sure you get your tall boots, your tall pull on boots, ideally. And that's probably going to be a pair of knee high ish engineer boots. Do not talk, leather pants or anything else. Don't talk jeans don't talk anything into a pair of short boots. It just doesn't look right. to tuck things in, you need a pair of tall boots. And when we're thinking about a leather uniform, it's time to start tucking things in tucking the pants in. If you have a pair of leather jeans and a uniform shirt, and then you're tall pull on boots, you can mimic the look of a leather uniform by simply tucking the pants into the boots. I did it for years, it worked beautifully. It is a very good look. It looks like a uniform, everyone will treat it like a uniform. So it works. But at some point you're going to want to get breaches. breaches are the true uniform pant. And they're usually distinguished by two features. First, breeches tend to taper to the ankles with either a zip, or snaps at the ankles. And that's because they are specifically designed to be worn, only tucked into boots. That's their whole function is to be tucked into boots. The other distinguishing feature of breeches is that they'll have this large circular patch on the buttocks. And it's called a saddle seat. And you know, there are good reasons for both this taper to the ankles and the saddle seat. And understand that we have to come back to this idea that for most things we wear as other people, we didn't invent most of them. We might have invented harnesses. Everything else we have appropriated from other contexts breaches actually come originally from an equestrian context. And so first of all, you're tucking your pants into tall boots because your legs need protection. Then your seat on the pants is saddled, because in a regular pair of jeans, if you look at the crotch of your jeans, you'll see that four seams come together. The leg seams and the crotch seams all come together and this creates this little knot right underneath your perineum. Now, if you're riding all day with that bumping into your taint, it does not feel very good. The saddle seat essentially removes those For seems coming together so that you can ride comfortably all day. The question context was translated into cavalry, a military context. That cavalry military context was then translated into a police context, a mounted police context, that Mounted Police context. Once there were iron horses became a motorcycle cop. And that's why that's the lineage of breaches and why we find them so appealing, and why we like to wear them. If you have a vest, a pair of chaps pair of FIVE POCKET leather jeans, a uniform shirt and a pair of breeches. And you've got your short boots, and you've got your tall boots, you have everything you have everything a leather man, or leather person of any gender when need. Are you gonna stop there? Probably not I never did. That's the point where you decide you want a full leather uniform and blue leather. Or you want a pair of codpiece pants or you want chaps that lace up the side or the variations go on and on and on. But having your staples, your foundation garments, they, they act as the basis of this much larger wardrobe that you will probably spend most of your life filling out. I know I have spent most of my life filling out the leather closet. And in fact, I think I'm probably on essentially the third set of leathers when I was very young, I bought things that I could afford. And they weren't the highest quality. But you know what they worked for me, and I wore them for many years. And then as I grew older and became a little bit more financially secure, I got stuff that was a little bit nicer, gave away all the lower quality stuff. And then, you know, my body weight has fluctuated quite a bit in my life. So there was a point where I grew out of a whole set of leathers how to get another one. And there was a point where I transformed my body again. And again, a new set of leathers got rid of the other ones, right. And when I say got rid of my goal, ideally is to always gift leather. And that is to hand it off to another leather person with no obligation, no cost, no price, to sort of welcomed them into the community to introduce them into my leather lineage, to let them enjoy leather that's been well worn that has a set of stories around it. So throughout my context, I've been getting leather, giving leather, getting leather, giving leather. And it's a really beautiful kind of process. It's not a cheap process. I'll be clear about that. But this is the Fetish I was born with. And I'm passionate about it beyond just sex. It's so much a part of my soul and identity that I do invest quite a bit in my letter. The good news is that lenders really fairly easy to care for and it is a tough and resilient material. I know I had a friend who liked to do water sports in his leather and I mean, they would get soaked and leather always bounced back much like boots. The only thing you need to do with leather is clean. And then condition much like boots that starts with a good scrubbing with saddle soap, cover scholar Scrub, scrub, scrub, scrub, scrub, scrub, wipe off all the saddle soap, and then a conditioner. Here's a place in particular, a lot of people will use Hubbards because it's a great conditioner, and they already have it. But here's the place in particular where I feel like other leather conditioners have a much better role, particularly open offs, which I've already expressed, I'm a fan of they have a leather oil, which I find soaks into leather extraordinarily well and has a beautiful scent to it, you may find a conditioner you like even better, I would discourage the use of Lexol. I used Lexol when I was first coming out and mostly because that's what I knew. And that's what was available. But I find that Lexol can be really sticky and tacky. Once you've wiped it off, and I don't want my others to be sticky or tacky. I'd rather than be slightly oily and beautifully be smelling from open offs. But that's it clean your leather conditioner. And it's not like I do that all the time. Sometimes I go on a tear and I want to clean everything in my leather closet. But generally speaking, if you're wearing your leather, it's absorbing oils from your skin, and it's going to remain pretty healthy. And again, it's an extraordinary, resilient material, it should last a lifetime. I will end this segment by saying there is a subtle transformation that has to take place. There's a difference between a person who owns leather and a person who owns leather and it really has to do with a sense of comfort and embodiment and that starts with making sure that your leather fits you and trust me. I've got plenty of stuff in my closet. I got a pair of pants like all the sausage pants because I can barely squeeze into them. And if I don't put the belt on really tight the button will snap up, and I have a couple shirts where the snaps are straining. And that's been true throughout my body journey, weight up and down. So when I'm talking about being comfortable, yes, ideally, it fits you well. But I mean, comfortable in the sense that you will understand that leather is a part of you, and part of who you are, that you feel more yourself in leather than out. That kind of comfort is part of what transforms a person in leather into a leather person. It really has to do with wearing the leather, being in the leather, being yourself in the leather, interacting with others and leather in your leather, gaining experiences in your leather, all those things build up. And what happens is there's this subtle alchemy, where you become you change from a person who was just wearing leather to another person, and it's beautiful. And I wish it for you. And I would recommend start with a vest, then get chaps then get your leather jeans, then get your uniform shirt, make sure you have your tall boots, then get your breeches. And as always, I hope that leather journey for you is extraordinary. And I am here with Jackson from Ben Orson leather Jackson, welcome to full cow. Oh, thank you very much. It's good to see you and hear you. It's good to see you and hear you as well. Could you start by telling us your pronouns and how you identify in the community? Oh, boy, that's a toughy.Jackson:
Um, he him just because, you know, I don't know, it's since this whole pronoun thing came about kind of came to everyone's the forefront of their mind and we had to consider it anymore. Because there's some languages that don't have pronouns for gender, like Hungary. Hungarian doesn't have pronouns. So, I know, probably going way too deep in this, but I just don't like labels in particular, you know, labels are something that are, well, we've kind of made a switch somewhere where labels become, we define ourselves by labels instead of labels becoming a useful shortcut to gather a lot of information. And so whenever anybody asked me to how to identify, identify as Jackson, because that's the label that's been given. And that's and that's me. How do I identify myself in the community? I've know that I'm kinky, I know that I've had an affinity toward love leather, you know, a craving I've always been drawn to it, it gives me it gives me pleasure, it gives me power, it gives me armor, it gives me there's a lot that leather gives me. And I know that I'm tied to it spiritually. And so, you know, it's a big part of who I am. So you started Ben Orson, how did you get into making leather I got into it. You know, I always whenever I would buy leather, I could never go into a you know, Mr. S, or Rough Trade and buy something off the rack. You know that. First of all, for some reason, they don't have a size 38. Usually, they're always gone, I can find a 28 and a 30. But that's always on the rack, I could never find anything. And then even when I tried stuff on, because I don't know, I can buy off the rack for jeans, I can buy off the rack for shirts. But when it comes to leather, there's a very specific fit that I desire. I like it close to my body. And I want it to fit me because it's an extension of me more so than my everyday wear, you know, go into the supermarket where it's more attached to me, and I want it to fit closer, I want it to fit right. And once you've tried on something that really fits your body. I mean, the difference is intense. You know, that's I guess that's all I can say. And I went to Barcelona on a kind of a sabbatical. And I decided that I needed something creative to do. And I thought, wow, how hard could help? Ah, I've always been into leather. I've got all this great leather. Let me try this out. Let me see. I mean, it's something that I could do alone. I didn't need a team of people in order to do it. I could do it all by myself. And I had a creative outlet. And that's how I started. And the stuff that I made people responded to. They're like, Oh, where'd you get that? I made it. You made it. When you make me one. I want one of those or can you make a bag or can you make this or that and oh, yeah, you know. And there's also another thing that I bought plenty of the shitty leathers, what, what I call it, you know, you find something online. It tantalize you, and you're like, oh god, that's only 100 bucks. I'm gonna buy that. Yeah. And I get it. And I, I probably still do it to this day. But it's always disappointing, because it's not made by somebody who knows. It's not made by somebody who gets it. You know, there was this pair of, of leather pants that I had that has a, you know, an acid zipper, and it would go down. But it wouldn't open up enough to where you could play in it. And it was like, Well, who designed this? And why would you make it so that you can't use it. And that was so frustrating to me. So I wanted to make leather that has been that's made by a gay man that knows how to play in leather. So that my customers will feel confident in going and getting something that they know that can play in, you know, they could get thrown in a sling they can get out and it's not going to interrupt their moment. Wonderful. And how would you describe your style or aesthetic as a leather Baker? What sort of influences Do you draw from? Oh, you know, I mean, Tom of Finland is always has always been, you know, something for me, it's something that I really grew up with, once I realized that I was attracted to, uh, you know, in a sexual way, Tom of Finland was something I mean, he really kind of captures a fantastic aesthetic. And it's impossible to make. You can't make pants that tight and still expect to move. But it's something that you know where that was in my fantasy. There's a lot of great leather makers out there, you know, and I love to see cool stuff. But my inspiration comes from sexual play. A lot of it's my fantasy, what I want to highlight what I dream of, you know, what I think about when I looked at another man, you know, I love curves. I love zippers, that's a big thing for me. So I love to put zippers on things, zippers also great for getting in and out of stuff, you know, I made this pair of pants that have two zippers on the side that go all the way to the top, it takes you two seconds to get out of them. So you don't have to take your boots off. So and you know, I'm a bigger guy. And I'm a hairy guy. And there seems to be there seemed to be a niche that was kind of ignored. And that was kind of the bear market, you know, bigger guys that have gone into a leather store and say, Oh, I can't do this never fit into any of this stuff. And as you know, some of the leather makers have moved away from well, they've moved away from doing custom because it's not as profitable. It's incredibly inefficient in in the production, you know, work room. And you have to retool everything for every customer. And it's getting harder and harder to find.Edge :
So there's even more we're having a harder time getting stuff. And so that's kind of the idea. And that's where I get inspiration inspired. You know, well, wonderful. And what would you recommend to someone as a first item of leather, if someone just wanted to get started? What would you tell them to buy first? I don't know what makes you horny. It's for some people, some people you know, if you really think about it, and I've always asked this to have people you know, have customers I like okay, if you could get one thing or you had to take you know, trim your leather collection down to one item. What's that thing that really is, you know, the core or that nugget piece and for me it was a leather jacket. That's where that was my first piece of leather. That was the thing that really I don't know how else to say it was I was born again a Leatherman at that point, you know, where I really you know, I actually had the aesthetic. For some it's a pair of boots, you know, for some it's a jock, you know,Jackson:
a lot of a lot of the I'll say younger because typically leathers are very expensive. You can spend a lot of money on it, you know, it can get very expensive, especially custom. And so where do you start? Younger people have less money and you know a job is a great place to start. You know, a cough, something simple, you know, something you don't have to invest 1000s of dollars for full bluff uniform, head to toe in order to belong. You belong in your heart first. And whatever makes your heart sing Doing whatever makes you feel good, whatever makes you feel sexy. That's what you should get first, a harness, you know, maybe it's something that no one would ever see, maybe it's a pair of your wrist restraints that you'll never even clip together because you're by yourself and it kind of needs another person, but just the act of putting that on, could kind of help your spirit soar. So it's really individual, but a caller, I don't know. It really is up to the individual. But for me, it was definitely the jacket. That is the thing that, I think, is my core thing. And that's why I have 250 leather jackets in my workshop right now.Edge :
That I've collected over my lifetime. Yeah, I always grew up in the South. So for me, it was a vest because I didn't have as much need for a jacket. But the vest is that same sort of key item for me that really provided entry. So I totally get the jackets, right. As a leather maker, what advice would you give to people? When they're buying leather? Like, what should they look for? How can you determine if it's a good piece of leather? Or if it's a quality item? Like should they be checking seams? Or zippers? Like, how do I really, how do I determine whether or not that $100 Vest is a good vest or not? What should I look for? Right? You know, unfortunately, sometimes it takes a little you know, it takes a little bit of practice to, to be able to recognize those things. But I think new comers kind of don't give themselves the benefit of the doubt. You got to really trust your gut, trust your intuition. Pick it up feel it, this is the this is the hardest thing about online, you know, shopping is that you can't feel it in your hand, you have to go with a certain amount of trust.Jackson:
That's why I always mail samples, I want someone to feel they need to have that tactile, you know, sensation and to have any kind of competence at all. And to not be disappointed, you know? Yeah, you look at the seams are the seams straight? Is there glue, usually glue is a sign of a good product, because it means there's an extra step taken, there's an extra step, the seams are glued down, they weren't just sewn and thrown into a bin, you know. So seeing a little bit of glue, you know, on the seams and stuff on the inside of a garment? is a good sign is is the thread weight heavy enough? You know, and feel it? Does it feel heavy? Does it feel substantial? And trust your gut? You know, I think most people can look at something and can tell, but they're afraid of making the wrong choice and like, oh, is this bad, and you gotta get out of that mindset. I think if a cheap piece of leather makes you feel fantastic and great, then more power to you. I love that you've mentioned custom work a couple times now because you are primarily a custom maker and, and I have a lot of custom leather even though I really do have a kind of off the rack body where I could walk in and walk out with whatever's hanging. But I know what I value is getting exactly what I want fitted exactly to me. But a lot of people I think are intimidated by custom because they think it's gonna be so much more expensive. So you know, what can you tell people to kind of lure them into exploring customers an option like what are you? What's the big sell for you? Why would someone want to pursue that versus just buying off the rack? Because I get to know you. And I get to know you and I get to know your personality. And I get to know what makes you tick, I get you know, people are always amazed when they come to the shop and sit down and they're always trying to rush out that like, oh, I don't want to take up your time. I don't want to take your time and I you know, Danny i are constantly telling them it's like no sit down, relax, you know, we have a we have a keg here you know, have a beer sit down leave the real world behind. Welcome to the fantasy world and relax and, and we get to know you we get to talk about what you like. And I'm doing a pair of chaps now for a client that, you know, we can put leather on your skin, we can drape it around your leg, we can make it fit your body perfectly, you know, is your butt a little bit higher? You know, so you have to have a different kind of waistband. We can totally redesign waistbands, you know, I'm doing a very different style of something right now because of that, you know, just because of the curves of the body. Everybody's unique. So, you know more often than not I think it would be something that is You're going to be experienced, you know, I don't want to turn away new people, but usually people who want custom know what they're looking for, they've been disappointed 100 times by the leather that they've gotten overseas, and they've, you know, been sucked in by a photo online. And, and I have to, and I, like I say, I still do, and I don't know, maybe that's a good thing, because maybe it'll push people toward me more, you can get something we do have, we do have new clients that are testing us out, you know, and testing out custom, they'll get a bracer, they'll get a cough, they'll get something small, that's a rather small investment, we make these Apple cuffs for an Apple Watch. And it has a hole that's cut in it. So it sits against your skin. So you have all the functionality of the Apple Watch, but, and you can take your phone with you. Because that's always a problem, right? When you're going into a club or something. It's like, where do you put your goddamn phone. And, you know, while you can have your watch on, and it's on a confidence piece of gear, and it ties those two worlds together. So something you know, something small is, is great and try it out, you know. But typically, for bigger stuff, I think people have that experience that will come to us and say I know I want this and they know the quality and they they kind of know what we are. And that helps a lot. I love that you really talked about it's probably not what you do when you start because I had a whole starter set of leathers that I was getting from like motorcycle catalogs, or we were sort of more than more affordable, I'm not going to say cheaper, more affordable stuff at another store. And it was great, because it was a way to start out. It was a way to be seen and recognized in the community. And it was a way for me to figure out what did I want before I really started moving to custom. So that's a wonderful piece of advice. Right? Have you have any other pieces of advice for people starting their leather styling aesthetic journey, because there are so many different ways to do leather? What are your recommendations, um, X except the fact that you're not going to know until you know, I think that's a big one, you won't know until you know, you're never going to know anything until you know it as so you, you just Just don't be afraid to experiment. You'll never walk into a leather store, and they'll look at you funny for trying something on. Know, the people who work there want you to try it on, they want to see the eye candy, they want to see, you know that thing. So they're going to be very helpful. And don't be afraid of walking in trying something on and walking out the door. You don't have to buy it. I've never I don't think I've ever been in a leather store where they've pressured me into buying something. I've never felt pressure. And that's wonderful. I mean, I think the leather community is a great community, you know, so I've never felt I've never felt that way. And it should be something that you love. And I think the salespeople are going to feel the same way. You know, I think a lot of what you're talking about is one of the great reasons it's a good reason to go to events. Because all the vendors are there, you can try on a lot of different things. If you want something custom, they can measure you right there. I think the best part of any event is the leather market. What is your experience been going to events? It's been really fun. I mean, we've only been to Well, we've been to two, but we've only been a vendor at one we were you know, because we're we're right about our one year anniversary of being in the United States in our opening shop here. So, but claw, as a vendor was an amazing experience. I mean, it really, it was too great. You know, it filled our production board and we have we are so full that we are now behind, which is something that just crushes me, you know, I feel so bad. And it's probably the major part of stress for the day of my everyday stress. It's the fact that we're behind, and that we have all these wonderful customers that, you know, decide to try us out and just can't keep up with the demand. And it's really, really sad that, you know, I feel like I've failed them. I mean, when people get their gear, they're very happy and most of that is forgotten, but you don't want to be steeping in that for a long time. But anyway, I kind of digress. That's a great place to explore, you know, get that's where you can get used here. I love buying used gear used gear is something that's so tantalizing because you get something that has had a life before it found its way to you in you know, it's it has a spirit it has an energy it has it just has There's all this in it that and it's and you get that feeling at a mark because everybody's in the same mindset, you know, everybody's at an event everybody kind of has synced up to this mindset of this community you know you feel like you belong you feel safe You're among friends you're among admirers and yeah, that's a great place to explore it you know, and try something on and and people will even the other attendees that are just walking by would love to watch you try something on right. That's a fantastic place to do it. I agree.Edge :
Wonderful. Well, I know you need to get back to making leather you have to make the leather so I'm just going to thank you for joining us here in full cow. Okay. And that's it for this episode of forecast. Thank you so much for joining us again. And if you enjoyed this episode, I do hope you will consider subscribing and as always, may or another journey. Blessed