How A Man’s Passion Led Him to Change His Life
Rope Dye Introduce the Duke
One of the things I love most about writing for Rope Dye is listening to the stories behind brands I love. It is even more exciting when I can bring you the story from one of our writers, Jan den Hartogh. This is the story of Duke & Sons Leather.
Something Was Missing
Flashback to 2013, Jan was doing this interview with Nicholas Hollows of Hollows Leather and he realised that he was missing something essential in his life; creating things with his hands.
So, he decided to start making his own leather goods.
Leather has always fascinated Jan, especially its ability to wear and endure much like our beloved denim: “Leather goods last forever and become more beautiful when you wear or use them. Like breaking your raw denim; it becomes yours.”
Practice Makes Perfect – The Birth of Duke & Sons
Jan quickly bought a piece of leather and started experimenting. He found that a lot of the tips and tricks he needed were explained online. After spending countless hours honing his skills, he felt confident enough to share what he had created.
After a quick post on Facebook, there was suddenly a lot of interest in what he had crafted. Naturally, he took the next logical step and created his own brand. Duke & Sons Leather was born. Today, Jan has quit his corporate job and now makes a living from his leather craft.
With Duke & Sons, each item is hand crafted by Jan himself. The handcrafting process is something fundamental the brand. It is important that each item is unique.
We get a glimpse into this process in the movie above. It was shot by his son, Sven and the rest of the team at The Stranded Sailors.
Using His Experience With Graphics and Branding
Jan pulls on his background in graphic designer and branding. He creates original artwork and carefully etches the designs onto the leather pieces. The results are beautiful.
Over the past year, we have watched as the offerings from Duke & Sons have expanded. The range now included phone cases, wallets, belts and bags as well as other accessory items.
In the future, Jan intends build the brand slowly but surely. Each item will continue to be custom made to preserve the passion for quality and craft, which is so essential to him.
Get Great Denim Fades Carrying the Duke’s Gear
When Jan and I met last year, he was taking part in a leather craft demonstration at the Stranded Sailors event in Utrecht. I was immediately impressed with the skill and craft he effortlessly demonstrated, and I snapped up one of his phone cases. It has been my constant companion ever since.
Normally, a phone case will round off the corners of a phone. I know many people who prefer to keep their phones unprotected in their pockets to ensure the ultimate wear possible of their denim. The heavy-duty leather used by Duke & Sons retains the shape and silhouette; you can get maximum wear while protecting your phone.
For more information check out the Duke & Sons Leather Facebook page here.
Illustration by Philip Harris, pictures by Tim Collins.