Author Archives: Henry Waldo

Combining Tradition and Forward Thinking for Fashion

Mens leather messenger bags

One of the most intriguing factors in the fashion world is being able to take a look at how styles changed and evolved over time, and which of those changes or original styles were born out of necessity or tradition, and which have taken on lives of their own in the fashion world for the sake of look or design. While the styles that are worn today, whether everyday wear for the average American or the high fashion of the catwalk, vary greatly from styles worn hundreds or thousands of years ago, there are still staples of the fashion industry that you can find in styles throughout the ages.

Fine leather goods from ancient times to today
One material that has been able to stand the test of time is leather. From its basic beginnings that came from using as much of an animal as possible after a hunt, animal hides were transformed into leather, and it soon became a go-to material for many different things. Eventually the evolution of the material and its many uses led to the wide variety of fine leather goods we have today. While the early peoples who first started to use animal hides to create leather products would probably not quite understand or recognize leather briefcases or leather keychains, chances are that they would be able to identify the material, the constant in an ever-evolving industry.

Looking all the way back to the Roman Empire, leather was already being developed for several different uses. It was used to create the sails of boats, most notably, but there were many other applications as well. It was not uncommon to see leather furniture and tents, as well as body armor and weapons that were made of leather. About 1,000 years after that, fine leather goods could be found in the fashion that many Egyptian women chose to wear. Fast forward to the 1900s, and you will see a number of different influences on the leather fashion trends, from General Patton’s aviator jacket during World War II to the easily recognizable black jacket sported by James Dean, to multiple European designers of the 1980s, including Versace, Armani, and Gucci, to name just a few.

The basics of leather manufacturing

From leather belts and bags to satchels
, shoes, and more, there are plenty of options to choose from. But what is the process that occurs to make such desirable products? The process of manufacturing leather, from animal rawhide to ready to use leather, can be described and categorized into three main or general steps, though there is quite a few additional and intricate steps that occur as a part of each of those three. The three main steps are the preparatory stages, tanning, and crusting. Some experts add a fourth step, which is adding surface coating. Once leather has reached the final stage, it can be categorized into one of four groups. These are top grain, full grain, split leather, and corrected grain. You will find that most of the leather products that you encounter for clothing and accessories are either full grain or top grain, as those are the categories of higher quality.

Proper care of fine leather goods
Most people are aware that leather products require special care. Leather can often quickly absorb oil or grease, so it is crucial to always handle it with clean hands, and to clean it at least every six months in order to protect and condition it. It can very easily be soiled or develop water spots, so this cleaning is necessary. It is also important to consider the conditions and environment where the leather products will be used, stored, or displayed. Low relative humidities, such as those below 40%, can degrade the fibrous structure of the material to the point that it cannot be restored. If you are going to spend the money on fine, genuine leather goods, be sure you will be able to properly care for them as well.

03 Aug 2016

EMF Safety Is Important With Today’s Devices

Ways to block emf

With so many electronic devices in use these days, from smartphones, to tablet computers to laptops, many people have health concerns about radiation and radio waves that may be given off by these devices. One of the biggest concerns is electromagnetic fields.

Just about everything in nature produces an electromagnetic field, or EMF, including your own body. However, these fields are very weak and present little if any health concerns. However, electronic devices produce much stronger EMFs, and since they are used close to your body, that can raise health concerns.

Cordless phone radiation, laptop radiation and other types of EMF radiation have been shown to have both short-term and long-term effects on health. For example, a study done in 2010 on kids ages 8-17 found that short-term exposure to EMF radiation led to irritability, headaches, concentration problems and other symptoms. Children aren’t the only ones affected, however, as another study showed similar problems in adults ages 81-91. There also are some long-term effects to EMF exposure. A 2012 study showed that chronic EMF exposure took only about a year and a half to produce physiological changes in human cells. Another study done in 2012 showed it took just four hours of exposure to the radiation put out by a laptop to affect sperm motility in men.

These are just some of the studies that show potential health effects of EMF exposure, which shows the importance of EMF safety. EMF safety for some people can include trying to stay away from EMF exposure as much as possible, but that is very unrealistic in today’s world. Unless you live in a cabin in the woods, you are going to be exposed to EMF radiation. A more realistic way to practice EMF safety is with EMF shielding devices.

Most electronic devices come with their own EMF shielding built in, but it may not always be enough. Among the methods you can use to shield yourself from EMF exposure are EMF protection jewelry and EMF shielding fabric in clothing. You also may need to use other more-extensive methods, such as if you live close to a cell phone tower.

Practicing EMF safety is important to protect yourself from the potential harmful effects of the everyday devices you use in your home and at work.

30 Jul 2016

Saving the World in Two Simple Steps

Charitable donation

It seems that every time you tune into the news these days, things are getting worse and worse. People disagree over which course to take in order to remedy difficult situations, and sometimes it feels like there is not a good answer to be found. But the truth is, everyone can do their part to contribute, and even if it may not feel as though you are having a profound impact or making a dent at all, you are doing something. And if everyone decides commit to doing a little something, that will add up to a great big change that will be good for everyone.

Where do I start?
It can be a bit overwhelming to figure out which issue to tackle first, or which problem you will be able to help solve. The key is to take it day by day, keeping the big picture in focus, and having the confidence that the baby steps you are taking act as a guide and model for others to do the same. So you want to do something that benefits the earth. Humans are quickly building what amounts to entire cities or chunks of land full of waste, and ruining natural habitats in a variety of ways. How can you help? Recycle and compost everything that you can. If every single person in the United States recycle just one tenth of their newspapers, we could stop the cutting down of around 25 million trees every single year. And the 21.5 million tons of food waste that humans are so good at creating every year? If all of that was composted, we could reduce greenhouse gasses in such an amazing amount that it would be equal to removing 2 million vehicles from the road. And if your heart is feeling heavy for those in your community who are not as well off, you could help them and help save the earth by contributing donations for non profit organizations to distribute.

How clothing donations for non profit organizations can also help the earth
So it makes sense that contributing donations for non profit organizations will eventually help those in need: the charitable donations can go towards funding events, help centers, essentials for those who can’t afford it, and any number of other things. But how does contributing clothing donations for non profit organizations help the earth? It has been estimated that about 90% of clothing and other textiles that are thrown away in the United States in just one year could have been reused or recycled. That is about 12 million tons of clothing and textiles every year that are just clogging up landfills. Imagine the difference we could make for the health of the planet and in the lives of those less fortunate if all of those 12 million tons were donated instead of discarded.

Charity donations for non profit organizations and our shared planet
In one year in the U.S., about 2 million tons of clothing and other textiles were either recycled or were donated to charity. We as a species are beginning to turn things around, and we have the power to make the changes that need to be made. Even what seem to be the smallest baby steps can add up to much more. Consider that the industry of textile recycling accounts for about 17,000 jobs across the country. How many more reasons do you need to be convinced that you can help make a difference? To review:

    1. Helping those in need
    When you donate clothing or money to organizations that are set up to help the poor, they receive better access to what they need. Everyone deserves to have essentials like being able to clothe their family.

    2. Saving the planet
    It’s quite simple: less trees are cut down, less waste ends up in landfills.

    3. More jobs for more people
    An increase in recycling will increase the need for workers in that industry, creating even more jobs than the existing thousands.

    4. Less stuff!

    Let’s get real, you have too much stuff in your closet, garage, basement, etc. Time to clean it out.

You can change the world. Start by donating and recycling.

Read more like this.

12 Jul 2016

Modern Meadow Startup Developing Real-Synthetic Leather

Leather briefcases for men

It sounds like something of an oxymoron, but it’s a startlingly truthful statement. According to Seeker.com, Modern Meadow, a Brooklyn-based startup company, recently received another round of investment funding – reportedly around $40 million – as they continue to develop sustainable leather materials that are essentially real leather, except it’s made without the hide of a cow.

By using living cells that produce collagen and proteins, the startup has had success creating a biologically identical version of leather you would get from a cow’s hide without the actual cow itself. Things like leather briefcases, leather keychains, and leather belts, will be able to be made without any actual animals. Sounds kind of crazy, but it’s backed by science.

“Growing leather without an animal might seem futuristic but at Modern Meadow we?re making it reality,” the company’s website reads. “Biofabrication enables us to grow nature?s materials using living cells instead of animals. “Depending on the desired features, we design and engineer the material to deliver the right structural and aesthetic properties. We then tan and finish it through an efficient, ecologically mindful process to give the material its final character.”

Their site goes on to explain in scientific detail just how the process works, which you can check out here. Basically, they manipulate DNA to manufacture collagen and then put the DNA in cells where it’s multiplied. The end result is a material that’s, well, leather for all intents and purposes. It can be made into leather briefcases, for example. Except for you didn’t have to kill a cow to get it.

Cowhide is typically the thickest leather, ranging between 1-ounce and 12-ounce varieties. According to Chief Creative Officer, Suzanne Lee, the process allows for the material to be tweaked for thickness, flexibility, elasticity, etc.

This process could have a big impact on more than just animal rights though. The meat/leather industry has long been derided for the detrimental effects they can have on the environment and potential breeding ground for “super bacteria.”

“Leather, which represents a $100-billion raw material market, has always been prized for its beauty, functionality and enduring status,” said Modern Meadow chief executive officer and co-founder Andras Forgacs in a press release. “At Modern Meadow, we’re re-imagining this millennia-old material to create revolutionary new features without harming animals or the environment.” References. See this link for more references.

29 Jun 2016

Classy, Durable And Easy To Match Leather Totes, Jackets And Boots

Leather belts

Looking for a simple and snazzy way of upgrading your look? Look no further than leather totes and leather backpacks. This material has been around for many thousands of years, famed for its durability and flexibility throughout more cultures than you can shake a stick at. The fashion industry in the West has seen a significant overhaul of leather totes for women and satchels, attempting to keep up with demand as people become more fashion-forward and economically savvy. After all, first impressions go a long way and a smooth leather wallet can mean the difference between snagging that promotion and falling into obscurity! Let’s take a look at leather goods, their history and simple tips for taking care of your leather products.

Ancient History Of Fine Leather Goods

Just like fine wine, leather goods of all shapes and sizes have only gotten better with time. The Roman Empire was widely known for using sails made out of leather, rather than the more typical cloth, alongside their furniture, tents, weapons and body armor. It wasn’t until an estimated 1,000 years later that leather was worn as a fashion item by Egyptian women rather than a useful and flexible everyday material. European designers, such as Versace and Armani, have risen to the forefront as passionate competitors in the 1980’s and have set the bar for many everyday products.

Leather In The 1900’s

Due to historical proximity, leather is more frequently associated with multiple periods in the 1900’s. The aviator jacket worn by General Patton in World War II, for example, has become an iconic image in many a fashion brand and movement around the country and you would be hard pressed not to find recreations at your average mall outlet. James Dean has also been credited for his striking black leather jacket, influencing both the music world and fashion industry well into the modern day. The average consumer nowadays will wear at least four different leather products at any given time! The year 2009 saw leather belts alone bringing in $92 million, which is nothing to say of your average pair of boots or gloves.

Durability And Longevity

It’s not hard to see why people gravitate to leather products, be they leather totes, wallets, shoes or belts. Their durability to the elements is well-documented and continuous use can actually make leather stronger rather than weaker. However, they’re far from invincible! Exposure to long periods of low humidities (below 40%, for example) can cause leather to become desiccated — this will irreversibly change the structure of the leather and make it weak. The majority of leather can be put into four categories, with full-grain and to-grain often offering the highest level of quality. These are generally used for jackets, pants and various accessories.

Stylish And Classy

There’s nothing quite like leather to take your outfit from ‘acceptable’ to ‘astonishing’. They come in a wealth of pleasant and evocative neutrals, from rusty red to smooth brown to shimmering black, and can be paired with just about any fashion style or approach. Decorating with leather goods has only become more popular as of recent years, according to leather accessories specialist Absolute Breton, and the luxury industry is seeing an influx in leather messenger bags and leather briefcases. Remember to clean your leather products every six months or so to prevent soiling and spotting, as leather can easily soak up oils and grease.

Upgrading Your Look

Giving your appearance an overhaul is as easy as investing in a new tote or belt, as leather still signifies a classy and mature appearance that can go a long way in your everyday life. Looking to spice up your social life and start dating again? Trying for a promotion? Nothing signifies your intent quicker than your ensemble. Dating site surveys have shown an overwhelming majority agreeing that a first impression is ‘the most important’, while a job can be potentially lost if your employer feels you’re not putting your best foot forward. With fashion industries everywhere investing more and more in evocative leather totes and stylish footwear, you’ll never be short of options for reinvention. What fashion ideas are you getting for your wardrobe today?

01 Jun 2016

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01 Jan 2012