Denim & Leather
Even with the advent of well-crafted local brews, bringing a six-pack of beer to thank the host of the hottest holiday party in town doesn't carry the same cachet as a lovely bottle of wine. But if you bring that same beer in the Big Sixer, a hand-crafted, leather carrying case, you will undoubtedly make it to the top of next year's invite list.
Will Ficner, the maker of the Big Sixer and other fine leather goods, comes from a long line of craftsman. His great grandfather was a cobbler, his grandfather made shoes and bags and his father made backpacks and travel harnesses. As a teenager, when Ficner coveted the messenger bags he saw in cycling magazines, but couldn't find them in Canada, he made them himself — naturally. First using Cordura and canvas, stitching them with one of the powerful, industrial sewing machines he inherited.
Then he graduated to leather. Inspired by his grandfather's World War II utility belt, Ficner made his own version, the standard issue belt, which remains his best seller today. Driven to learn the lost art of leather forming and wet molding, Ficner has become a bit of specialist in the field — featured in a text book or two and sought after for specialty projects.
And the Big Sixer, the highly functional, lockable, collapsible (in the event it happens to be empty) leather, beer carrying case, stands out at the party too.
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Find it at: online, Goods Shop
If you follow your favourite restaurant, butcher shop or ice cream maker on Instagram, you've likely seen the shot of the entire kitchen crew proudly donning their new, tough, yet beautiful aprons, thanks to Matt Somers, owner and designer of Wove & Grain.
As a pastry chef at El Camino, Somers knows the strain lesser aprons can put on your neck after spending long hours in the kitchen. So, he created an apron for himself using a leather y-strap harness that balances the weight of the apron on the shoulders, not on the neck, with a front that attaches with gromets. After tweaking the design with fellow chefs for more than a year, Somers launched Wove & Grain in 2015.
Designed with the professional in mind, the harness alone is an investment of $100 — as Somers says, "for a chef, working long 10-hour days, this is your everyday business suit and it needs to last." Unlike many aprons sold as one piece, Wove & Grain's made-toorder aprons are built as a system with interchangeable, washable fronts in a variety of fabrics, such as denim, and waxed canvas, finished with a lighter, often playful fabric on the inside — for a little business in the front, party in the back.
As the cult following in the culinary industry continues, Somers is getting orders from other disciplines — woodworkers, florists, hair stylists and people buying them as gifts for the serious home cook.
Wove & Grain
Find it at: made to order, online