Everyday carry (or EDC, as it were) was not a phrase I was remotely aware of 12 months ago; neither was Craft and Lore for that matter. While I was indeed carrying objects with me daily, as a concept, I was unaware it had a name and a following. A slim, card focused wallet/money clip combo, Kershaw rapid response knife, and my phone was mostly the extent of my EDC.
I honestly never really regarded these objects beyond their functionality and never once really cared much about their aesthetic. I just wanted these items to serve their purpose and replace them every couple of years, either due to wear or obsolescence.
Some of you may remember that my exposure to selvedge denim came when I was looking to make changes to how I was living and consuming. I was on a mission to find clothing that would withstand the test of time, age slow, and remain fashionable regardless of trends. It made sense to me that if denim could be made better, rugged, and slowly age to perfection, so could other items I used daily.
I set out to find well-made alternatives to the things I used the most; belts, wallets, watch bands, hell even how I was managing my keys became a hunt for a replacement. If you live this life, then I am sure you are aware that there are a vast number of makers of such things. How do you make the right choice? It was my hunt for a rugged leather band for my Apple Watch that led me to Craft and Lore.
As previously mentioned, there’s a lot of product out there, but surprisingly, in my search, there wasn’t a ton of high-quality leather Apple Watch bands. A couple of hours of googling and “window shopping” brought me to Craft and Lore’s website and their Apple Watch NATO band. It was everything I wanted: high-quality leather, check, chunky and manly in design, check, sturdy as fuck, and capable of keeping up pace with my life as a traveler, father, DIY enthusiast, and gym rat, check, check, check fuggin’ check!
Click, click, tippity-tap, cha-ching, purchased. For good measure, I threw in the stunningly beautiful and damn-near oppressively thick double mountain cuff and a key hook. I was, after all, looking for some made to match rugged accessories to go with my new lifestyle. Then came an email from owner and maker, Nathaniel Von Lind, to tell me they were having hardware issues, and he could not sell me the watch band in good conscience. Dammit.
To keep the story short, Nathaniel and Michael Miles (right-hand man and maker), are exceptionally engaging dudes when it comes to their customers, and I was able to open up a dialogue with them about the watch strap. These conversations led to some research and identifying a viable replacement for the previously faulty hardware. I agreed to be their lab rat. The rest is history, and I have a stellar watch band as a result.
This one item has led me down a very addicting rabbit hole. The Craft and Lore team produces some of the most remarkable leather goods I’ve ever owned. Others make this list, without argument, and I now have a fairly respectable collection of belts and small-carry leather goods from these makers.
That said, on release days for Craft and Lore limited-edition goods, I have found myself waiting at my desktop, mashing F5 like it’s my job. I’m more than convinced of the concept, *gasp* dare I say it? I guess I am somewhat of a fanboy (all arguments that this is a shill are now moot) I fucking love their products and I am not making apologies for it. Kick rocks if you want one.
Is it the products, specifically? Yes, the majority of what I love about the brand is the products. Without turning this into a full-blown review, aesthetically, they are exceptional. Just looking at them, you can get a sense the products are well made, and the image of ruggedness and high-quality seems obvious on plain sight. I currently own seven pieces from Craft and Lore, four of which are wallets. I haven’t bought four wallets in ten years. Shit, is that true? OK, I may have a problem.
Amongst my current favorites? Excluding the watchband, which brought me to the company in the first place, Craft and Lore recently released two special edition types of leather that were available in a limited run across their wallet collection. I bought one of each but in two styles. First, Black Cherry Ghost Port Wallet, a stunner of a card wallet, holds up to twelve cards reasonably. What makes it a “ghost wallet?” Good effin’ question. The wallet has a black waxy finish that wears and reveals a “Sith red” leather underneath as it patinas. I also have their Ghost Blue Port wallet that has patinaed most of the waxy finish away, a photo included for reference below.
In a similar vein, my second current favorite is my Black Green Ghost Enfold Card Wallet. The same black waxy coating covers a…well…remember Skywalker clad in all black and the first time you saw his green lightsaber? Yeah, fucking that. I’m not sure if this was by design or serendipitous, but the two latest Craft and Lore leather releases have a very Vader/Skywalker vibe to them, and I dig it.
Finally, Craft and Lore does some cool collaborations, whether we are talking about their Task Boot, with Nick’s or my final favorite, the naval brass Pocket Puck, with HogDoggins. I’m a hockey player, so they had me at “naval brass puck.” A friend of mine, when I posted about it, asked me, “What does a pocket puck do?” My response? “It stores shit that needs storing. Also, I’m fairly confident it could kill a man.” I’m still fairly confident about that.
I mostly use it for an impressive mint container. I’m in sales, and mints are life after a dozen cups of coffee with clients. It also makes a decent fidget toy, as the rare earth magnets that hold it shut are fun to play with, and you can easily spin the weighty puck around in your hand. Did I mention I’m pretty certain it could kill a man? Yikes!
As for the quality, their company slogan really says it all, “Heritage Quality, Heirloom Durability.” Rose Anvil did a killer review and breakdown (*through tears and gritted teeth* I watched him quite literally deconstruct a Craft and Lore wallet). I recommend giving it a watch for a real review but suffice it to say their wallets are well-built, straightforward in design, and made from top-notch leather and brass.
Does it go beyond their products? Hell-fucking-yes. Nathaniel and Michael have gone far above and beyond to create a culture of inclusion with the brand. “Grant, what in the actual hell does that even mean?” Well, I’m delighted you asked, random reader, allow me to expand.
The guys routinely reshare community posts and host live events on Instagram, fielding questions, and directly engaging with customers. The newly created “Craft and Lore Lounge” is a place for fans to come and share their collections, ask the makers questions or talk about all things EDC. Shit, they even drop exclusive access to new products to the loungers before general release, so it’s probably worth checking it out if you haven’t already. Wherever you find them, be sure that Nathaniel and the team are committed to creating a sense of community.
I’ll end on this. If you’re new to the whole “buy it once, buy it for life” community like I was (and in a lot of ways still am), these guys will take good care of you. I wouldn’t call Craft and Lore entry-level, but I would say they give you a lot of bang for your buck. I stand by the saying, “You get what you pay for.” I clearly paid for bad-ass, high-quality products, beautiful and rugged, and a welcoming and fun community. You’re welcome to join us at any time. I recommend it.
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