Introducing our new leather colors Ocean and Stone.
We sat down with our creative director to hear about these new colors and what they are planning to do with them.
Rustico: What inspires you in creating new product for Rustico?
Matt: We set out to make something clean and functional. I don’t like things with bells and whistles and burglar alarms and lots of hardware. We want them to feel authentic and timeless. I try to stick to that so when I am designing new things so that 20 years from now your kids will still think its cool and has nice craftsmanship.
Rustico: Where did you get your inspiration for the new leather colors?
Matt: The new colors we’ve added are Ocean and Stone. One thing we have been lacking is some shade of blue. In nature there is water, sky, flowers etc, but we didn’t want to do something that was too flamboyant and I think this color that we picked will really have some lasting power. At least I hope it does because when you put it up to our current 5 colors, it feels really good together.
The stone goes really well with the burgundy too because it almost feels like an old letterman’s jacket. or something. With the blue, we are tapping into water which is big and powerful but it can also be a little trickle. Water and wind are what sculpted this entire world. Its this awesome thing; it sustains life. I can go on and on and get all philosophical here, but the idea is it can also carry you on a journey but it also has an idea of adventure: river rafting, deep sea fishing, kayaking, jumping off a water fall. Stone is a very its a warm grey, but it was chosen to be that way so it felt good with the rest of our leather. It’s a neutral color so it’s easy on your eyes and it doesn’t compete.
Rustico: How long have you been working on bringing these new colors to our product line?
Matt: Uuughhh poke my eyes out. It has probably taken a year and a half to get the recipes right because leather is not something where you get out spray paint and coat it with the color of your choice. It’s a huge process and it goes through a bunch of different stages, so getting a sample made takes 3-4 months. There is a lot of back and forth with getting a sample made is done and you get it, the hand (which is how it feels) and the temper (which is how stiff it is) might have been a little off, or the color might have been a shade off, or the pull up (which is when you pinch it and you get a lighter color underneath) and you have to start over. I think for ocean I went through 3-4 samples before we finally nailed it and on stone it was about 3 samples. Most of these tannerys are used to making brown and black, so when you come in with turquoise, but you don’t want to make it look like upholstery material, it poses some challenges
Rustico: Can you describe the hand, pull up and temper of both of the leathers?
Matt: What is cool about it is that it’s still evolving. I wouldn’t say that they are perfect yet. Even our dark brown which we have been doing for 13-14 years evolves a little bit and we have just recently shifted the feel of the dark brown to a softer kind of like a motorcycle jacket feel to the leather. What we are ideally going for (and we are almost there) we want the temper to be fairly stiff, we don’t want it to be flopping around, right? Because what we are making out of this is wallets and books and we don’t want it to be a squishy mess when you get it. Lots of thin Italian leather (that’s right Italy, your leather is junk) is too soft. The temper is stiff not soft, but the hand is soft so when you feel it doesn’t feel as soft as suede but not as plasticy as a leather brief case.Take the ocean for instance- when you look closely at it, its almost hard to describe the color because its got hints of dark black in it almost, but you really have to be looking for it like an easter egg…top secret.
Rustico: What is your favorite product in the ocean and what is your favorite product in the stone?
Matt: Hmmmm. I love both of these colors probably more than anyone here, and sometimes I worry that no one else likes them so anything I see in the new colors gets me excited. I really like our shoulder bags (the explorer and survivor) in the ocean. I just think its a breath of fresh air. It feels a little more modern, a little more urban maybe but it still has the same design. I also like the new globetrotter wallet or the new improved drifter, also the cache sleeve. That stone against the charchol wool is really pretty. I love mixing and matching the colors of the new highway and byway wristbands.
Rustico: So you touched on a couple of things already about why you think these colors are going to be so popular. You said they were timeless and earthy… any other thoughts on why you think they are going to be popular?
Matt: Well, it’s weird how ideas and creativity work. What I’ve noticed my whole life is that I will sincerely feel like I have come up with a sweet idea through experimentation on my own, like messing around with color or drawing shapes that I am going to use in a pattern, and I think “Wow, i just came up with this totally cool thing” and within 6 months I see it everywhere. I sit there thinking “did somebody rip me off?” or “did i rip somebody off” and I have come to realize that creativity and designs kind of ebb and flow in the universe. Nothing is truly original these days because we have such instant access to everything. You can get on pinterest and have a thousand ideas in minutes, and whether you like it or not, its stored away in the back of your mind somehow. So the next time you sit down with a pencil and paper and you are sketching, whether you like it or not you are being influenced by something you have experienced. I’m giving that background because when I was at the Las Vegas show a few weeks ago, I was looking at this fancy modern furniture show room and all their new couches were stone and ocean. I sat there thinking how in the crap did their couches match exactly to ours? There is a part of me says dang, we wanted to be unique and do our own thing here. But at the same time it helps me realize we are on the right track, meaning that for whatever reason, the ebb and the flow right now are washing these colors into people. The challenge is to stay in front, but right when you think you are in the front you find you are probably in the back. Trend is not a bad thing. It’s simply all of us trying to get along together visually, philosophically, morally.
Rustico: Any other secret project you are working on right now?
Matt: If you keep it under wraps, I’m running for president 2016. What can you look for from Rustico coming up? Maybe a women’s line? Probably not, but you never know.