Can you help me make this belt "Better"?

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by 5shot, May 30, 2012.

  1. 5shot

    5shot Member

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    Hi,

    My name is John Ralston, and I make custom leather (and I am new to the forum). This isn't any type of sales pitch (I am so backed up right now I can't even see straight) - I would just like my product to look as good as it can and would like your input.

    This belt isn't really intended for a suit - although some gentlemen from certain 3 letter govt. agencies do wear them with their suits. I don't think it would look "Wrong" with a suit, but I am hoping that those of you with an eye for style might be able to offer some suggestions for how to make it better.

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    I appreciate your input.
     


  2. 5shot

    5shot Member

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  3. comrade

    comrade Senior member

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    Nice belt but looks generic . Offer a variety of buckles-
    not flashy or western.
     


  4. 5shot

    5shot Member

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    Buckles are the toughest part. The one pictured is a Titanium Buckle I have made, but it is really hard to find nice buckles. The large companies have them made by the thousands (in China) and designed to their specs, but it isn't always feasible for little shops.

    Western and/or flashy isn't my style, so I don't think you will see any of those on one of my belts.
     


  5. Frankie22

    Frankie22 Senior member

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    I agree with the poster above. The buckle might make your belt look generic.

    You said agents from certain 3 letter government agencies buy the belt? That's good, keep making the product pictured for that market. But realize, not many posters would want to model their dress after the typical government suit. They often look rather unstylish.

    As mentioned, if you want to appeal to the type of consumers on this forum, you need to offer less generic buckles. Maybe an antique version and also something with a more elegant shape and less "plastic" look.

    Just my .2 as a consumer.
     
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2012


  6. 5shot

    5shot Member

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    Can you post a picture of the type of buckle that would appeal to you?

    I actually get a lot of orders for just the buckle, and personally, I like it. Maybe not ideal, but it is made in the US and not some cheap import.

    I am looking at having buckles made, that have a more slender profile and would look more appropriate with a suit.
     


  7. random-adam

    random-adam Senior member

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    The following are just my impressions, and may be full of dung:

    The buckle in question looks... tactical. I see slightly chunky proportions and a curious mix of straight and swooping lines (contrast the slender prong with the almost geometric edges on the leather end of the frame). The dark matte finish plays into that impression.

    If I wanted the lightest most functional belt buckle possible, it would rank way up there. I know folks who have titanium wedding bands because they're whiz-bang cool. Personally I've got a polished milgrain wedding band because it's classic and elegant. Folks on this forum generally tend toward the latter.

    I recently purchased a belt from someone here with probably the nicest-looking buckle I yet own. An antiqued version would look even better, I suspect.
     


  8. LA Guy

    LA Guy Opposite Santa Staff Member Admin Moderator

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    There are a few things that you could do/take a look at. Right now, the belt looks sort of generic. It's neither particularly rugged/rustic looking, nor is it particularly sleek and modern looking, nor does it look particularly elegant and classic.

    With that titanium buckle, I would get rid of the edge stitching and finishing, (one is nearly too much, both is overkill), and either go with just the chicago screws or have the buckle stitched on completely.

    I think that specific critiques are not as helpful as pointing you to makers who are top of their class. If you want to see some great examples of elegant belts, as well as elegant but sporty belts, I would go to Equus leathers (see the ad on the side. If it's not there, referesh a few times), and you'll get to where you want to go. A small Danish brand called Mismo makes a terrific simple belt, and for a rustic belt that is just reeking of quality (but is not flashy), look up Saddler's Union, a legendary Italian company.
     


  9. 5shot

    5shot Member

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    Nothing against Equus (I have emailed him several times and he has been more than helpful in answering questions), but I actually like the look of my belt better (as compared to the Equus Lined and Raised Belt). I guess I just don't have the right eye, and I am certainly not going to change my design to something I am not happy with.

    The stitching is a requirement of the design (2 Piece with a lining), and the Chicago Screws are required to allow changing of the buckle, so I can't eliminate those either.

    I guess I am just stuck with a "Generic" until I find a suitable buckle.
     


  10. Frankie22

    Frankie22 Senior member

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    Why even come here asking for opinions? Clearly you like your belt and feel its your best option, which is fine. I am sorry to be crass; as a person who works in consumer goods, if I ask for feedback form potential customers, I just note the feedback and mull over the details later. I don't argue with them or explain design challenges, or even come off as somewhat defensive. No one is saying you have a poor eye or any of that.

    I don't think anyone is saying to abandon your original design that clearly sells (kudos it is a nice belt), maybe you create another belt or do a line extension.

    My point, we don't work in the belt trade so we are not going to know all the little nuisances and challenges you might face in regard to the opinions posted. I feel like that is a conversation you have with your vendors (and yourself) after all the data has been reviewed.

    Jus offering opinions, friend!
     
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2012


  11. Cant kill da Rooster

    Cant kill da Rooster Senior member

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  12. LA Guy

    LA Guy Opposite Santa Staff Member Admin Moderator

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    I would really look up belts by The Saddler's Union, in that case, which does an amazing job with lined and raised belts. I might also explore solid brass buckles.

    Also, what leather are you using? I realize that your it may be the photography, but the leather on your belt does not look to me to be particularly lustrous or rich. Did you look at the belts by Mismo?

    As for the stitching being a requirement of the design, there are other ways to do the stitching so that it is invisible. Ralph Lauren has these made regularly.

    If you are married to the idea of Chicago screws, I would use ones that match the buckle.
     


  13. 5shot

    5shot Member

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    I am using a high grade Vegetable Tanned Leather from Wickett & Craig. The belt has a high sheen on it (not gloss though), but I usually try to tone that down on photos, since the glare wipes out the detail in the photos. It isn't a bridle type leather, as it is too soft for what the belt is meant for.

    I will check out the offerings from Mismo and Saddler's Union to see what I can absorb. I am not sure that I have ever seen a hidden stitch, but will look into it. I can also look at matching Chicago Screws, but frankly never gave it any consideration since they are under the tongue.

    Thanks

    ETA - I took a look at Saddler's Union, but didn't see any lined and raised belts. I was really surprised to see how they stitched on the buckles of their other belts though - straight across the billet. That is not the correct way to do it.
     
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2012


  14. 5shot

    5shot Member

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    Thanks for the link - that Paul Stuart belt is really sharp. The AE Belt is really just a strip of leather with a buckle. Not what my niche is after, but if I could sell them for $69, I would have a great margin!
     


  15. 5shot

    5shot Member

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    I wasn't trying to argue, but I wanted to be clear about why the belt is made the way it is. Frankly, I may not be able to ever make the belt look good on a suit and still do its job. If a more classic looking buckle would change the whole look of the belt, then maybe.

    I will look over some of the lines mentioned here, and see what I can do.
     


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