the shoulder pad philosophy

October 3, 2019

notes

     Nothing fits me better than a  new Zara jumpsuit, but with fast-fashion the “new shirt feeling” fades quickly and is replaced by buyer’s remorse.  I don’t shop at Zara (or any fast-fashion stores) anymore, even though everything is inexpensive and looks good enough to fool my brain (for a VERY brief while). For too long, I ignored it, swallowed my guilt, and kept going about the usual business, because there really didn’t seem to be another option. But then everything changed.

     Dan and I were at a consignment store and I remember turning around, catching just a glimpse of a sleeve and somehow knowing I had found… IT. No, not the creepy clown, but my soon-to-be favorite item of clothing ever. The shirt was 90s vintage with shoulder-pads and a strong earth-toned design and a holed lattice section, not quite full length but also not a crop top it landed right where I wanted it. This would definitely not be for everyone, but it’s perfect for me. I’ve worn it to a wedding, on a boat, and to a brewery. I feel damn cool when I put it on and it excites me every time. That was the moment two things happened.


1. ) I was able to put words to our design litmus test: The Shoulder Pad Philosophy. I want our products to make you feel like I do when I put on that shirt. I want you to know that it’s okay to feel cool, and if an item of clothing or a leather bag helps you SHOW UP WITH CONFIDENCE — rock it.

2. ) I finally had a viscerally direct comparison to how it feels NOT to buy fast fashion - for finding another way and discovering a unique piece that helped me express me.


If a product doesn’t help you express you, it doesn’t belong in your life.


     Moving away from the expediency of how shopping has been can be difficult - AND we should do it anyway. There is something undeniable about shoulder pads - they’re a bit strange, they create angles and demand attention. Magnetism and undeniable attraction - I can dig it. In the world we want to live in, products allow to express your self, not fit in.  I want to give you the thing you didn’t even know you were looking for until you see it. Yes, I’m a stickler about beauty, perfection, durability, and fit. But the thing of most importance to me is, if our design doesn’t stand up to our Shoulder Pad Philosophy, we’re not going to make it.


     Feeling cool is an act of rebellion - a rebellion that means showing up just as yourself and connecting with people who do the same. ‘Cool’ means embodying a sense of being larger than life, of being just beyond understanding. In my book it's ok to belong at the cool kid's table, we just desperately need to redefine the definition of who belongs there.  When you truly put yourself out there you attract likeminded people. And that’s our clique - our cool kid’s table, and you only have to want to show up to belong. It’s our group of humans who have an opinion, a desire, a “what if….?” and want and deserve to be heard. IT’S FOR THE PEOPLE WHO LIVE OUT LOUD. WHO MAKE A STATEMENT. Who piss some people off, because if everyone likes you, or what you're doing, you're doing something wrong.

     Nothing fits me better than a  new Zara jumpsuit, but with fast-fashion the “new shirt feeling” fades quickly and is replaced by buyer’s remorse.  I don’t shop at Zara (or any fast-fashion stores) anymore, even though everything is inexpensive and looks good enough to fool my brain (for a VERY brief while). For too long, I ignored it, swallowed my guilt, and kept going about the usual business, because there really didn’t seem to be another option. But then everything changed.

     Dan and I were at a consignment store and I remember turning around, catching just a glimpse of a sleeve and somehow knowing I had found… IT. No, not the creepy clown, but my soon-to-be favorite item of clothing ever. The shirt was 90s vintage with shoulder-pads and a strong earth-toned design and a holed lattice section, not quite full length but also not a crop top it landed right where I wanted it. This would definitely not be for everyone, but it’s perfect for me. I’ve worn it to a wedding, on a boat, and to a brewery. I feel damn cool when I put it on and it excites me every time. That was the moment two things happened.


1. ) I was able to put words to our design litmus test: The Shoulder Pad Philosophy. I want our products to make you feel like I do when I put on that shirt. I want you to know that it’s okay to feel cool, and if an item of clothing or a leather bag helps you SHOW UP WITH CONFIDENCE — rock it.

2. ) I finally had a viscerally direct comparison to how it feels NOT to buy fast fashion - for finding another way and discovering a unique piece that helped me express me.


If a product doesn’t help you express you, it doesn’t belong in your life.


     Moving away from the expediency of how shopping has been can be difficult - AND we should do it anyway. There is something undeniable about shoulder pads - they’re a bit strange, they create angles and demand attention. Magnetism and undeniable attraction - I can dig it. In the world we want to live in, products allow to express your self, not fit in.  I want to give you the thing you didn’t even know you were looking for until you see it. Yes, I’m a stickler about beauty, perfection, durability, and fit. But the thing of most importance to me is, if our design doesn’t stand up to our Shoulder Pad Philosophy, we’re not going to make it.


     Feeling cool is an act of rebellion - a rebellion that means showing up just as yourself and connecting with people who do the same. ‘Cool’ means embodying a sense of being larger than life, of being just beyond understanding. In my book it's ok to belong at the cool kid's table, we just desperately need to redefine the definition of who belongs there.  When you truly put yourself out there you attract likeminded people. And that’s our clique - our cool kid’s table, and you only have to want to show up to belong. It’s our group of humans who have an opinion, a desire, a “what if….?” and want and deserve to be heard. IT’S FOR THE PEOPLE WHO LIVE OUT LOUD. WHO MAKE A STATEMENT. Who piss some people off, because if everyone likes you, or what you're doing, you're doing something wrong.

     I love the Shoulder Pad Philosophy for the people it attracts. It pervades every aspect of our business, including our half workshop-half retail store. Every day, people walk by the Uphill Studio and do a double-take. At first it’s mostly because of Ragknarr’s ice blue eyes staring longingly out the door for a treat (we get it!), but then they’ll peak their head into our space and soak in the industrial sewing machines, heritage leather goods, the giant crafting table and giant mountain retail display, okay, and the corner bar full of rare whiskeys that I insisted was crucial for the success of our business. By which I mean it was crucial for my happiness. Some people are scared away and we’re okay with that, because the rest? They can’t help but be drawn in. It’s something unexpected, yet undeniable - just like that shirt with shoulder pads, our workshop, our products, and you.


     Case in point — the NUMA, the first leather bag I designed. When we first branched into leather goods, I told Dan what I needed was a leather fanny pack. And although he fought me at first, I finally won out. I fell in love immediately (a feeling I reserve only for beautiful products & animals). The NUMA fanny pack was cool, but as classic as a well-worn cowboy hat. At our next farmer's market, Dan sold it immediately. No biggie, he made another. And sold it. And another, and another, until I screamed “STOP SELLING MY BAG!” And told him we were officially bringing it on in our product offering. It's our all-time top selling product for good reason, because it’s the Shoulder Pad of leather bags. Some people think fanny packs are the bane of their existence, they would never wear one. Good, we craft stunning ones for those who can rock it and we don't worry about the others. As always, one of our awesome customers put it better than I ever could - the NUMA is adesign that walks the line between city elegance and country cool.” AMEN.


     Investing in good quality, well-designed stuff with heart lets you feel cool and avoid throwing away your money. Put on your favorite outfit, strap on the NUMA and just see how your day and mood unfolds.

-Maelstrom

     I love the Shoulder Pad Philosophy for the people it attracts. It pervades every aspect of our business, including our half workshop-half retail store. Every day, people walk by the Uphill Studio and do a double-take. At first it’s mostly because of Ragknarr’s ice blue eyes staring longingly out the door for a treat (we get it!), but then they’ll peak their head into our space and soak in the industrial sewing machines, heritage leather goods, the giant crafting table and giant mountain retail display, okay, and the corner bar full of rare whiskeys that I insisted was crucial for the success of our business. By which I mean it was crucial for my happiness. Some people are scared away and we’re okay with that, because the rest? They can’t help but be drawn in. It’s something unexpected, yet undeniable - just like that shirt with shoulder pads, our workshop, our products, and you.


     Case in point — the NUMA, the first leather bag I designed. When we first branched into leather goods, I told Dan what I needed was a leather fanny pack. And although he fought me at first, I finally won out. I fell in love immediately (a feeling I reserve only for beautiful products & animals). The NUMA fanny pack was cool, but as classic as a well-worn cowboy hat. At our next farmer's market, Dan sold it immediately. No biggie, he made another. And sold it. And another, and another, until I screamed “STOP SELLING MY BAG!” And told him we were officially bringing it on in our product offering. It's our all-time top selling product for good reason, because it’s the Shoulder Pad of leather bags. Some people think fanny packs are the bane of their existence, they would never wear one. Good, we craft stunning ones for those who can rock it and we don't worry about the others. As always, one of our awesome customers put it better than I ever could - the NUMA is adesign that walks the line between city elegance and country cool.” AMEN.


     Investing in good quality, well-designed stuff with heart lets you feel cool and avoid throwing away your money. Put on your favorite outfit, strap on the NUMA and just see how your day and mood unfolds.

-Maelstrom

model, Roma

pictures, Alexander Beal

learn more about taking a class

the shoulder pad philosophy

October 3, 2019

notes

     Nothing fits me better than a  new Zara jumpsuit, but with fast-fashion the “new shirt feeling” fades quickly and is replaced by buyer’s remorse.  I don’t shop at Zara (or any fast-fashion stores) anymore, even though everything is inexpensive and looks good enough to fool my brain (for a VERY brief while). For too long, I ignored it, swallowed my guilt, and kept going about the usual business, because there really didn’t seem to be another option. But then everything changed.

     Dan and I were at a consignment store and I remember turning around, catching just a glimpse of a sleeve and somehow knowing I had found… IT. No, not the creepy clown, but my soon-to-be favorite item of clothing ever. The shirt was 90s vintage with shoulder-pads and a strong earth-toned design and a holed lattice section, not quite full length but also not a crop top it landed right where I wanted it. This would definitely not be for everyone, but it’s perfect for me. I’ve worn it to a wedding, on a boat, and to a brewery. I feel damn cool when I put it on and it excites me every time. That was the moment two things happened.


1. ) I was able to put words to our design litmus test: The Shoulder Pad Philosophy. I want our products to make you feel like I do when I put on that shirt. I want you to know that it’s okay to feel cool, and if an item of clothing or a leather bag helps you SHOW UP WITH CONFIDENCE — rock it.

2. ) I finally had a viscerally direct comparison to how it feels NOT to buy fast fashion - for finding another way and discovering a unique piece that helped me express me.


If a product doesn’t help you express you, it doesn’t belong in your life.


     Moving away from the expediency of how shopping has been can be difficult - AND we should do it anyway. There is something undeniable about shoulder pads - they’re a bit strange, they create angles and demand attention. Magnetism and undeniable attraction - I can dig it. In the world we want to live in, products allow to express your self, not fit in.  I want to give you the thing you didn’t even know you were looking for until you see it. Yes, I’m a stickler about beauty, perfection, durability, and fit. But the thing of most importance to me is, if our design doesn’t stand up to our Shoulder Pad Philosophy, we’re not going to make it.


     Feeling cool is an act of rebellion - a rebellion that means showing up just as yourself and connecting with people who do the same. ‘Cool’ means embodying a sense of being larger than life, of being just beyond understanding. In my book it's ok to belong at the cool kid's table, we just desperately need to redefine the definition of who belongs there.  When you truly put yourself out there you attract likeminded people. And that’s our clique - our cool kid’s table, and you only have to want to show up to belong. It’s our group of humans who have an opinion, a desire, a “what if….?” and want and deserve to be heard. IT’S FOR THE PEOPLE WHO LIVE OUT LOUD. WHO MAKE A STATEMENT. Who piss some people off, because if everyone likes you, or what you're doing, you're doing something wrong.

     I love the Shoulder Pad Philosophy for the people it attracts. It pervades every aspect of our business, including our half workshop-half retail store. Every day, people walk by the Uphill Studio and do a double-take. At first it’s mostly because of Ragknarr’s ice blue eyes staring longingly out the door for a treat (we get it!), but then they’ll peak their head into our space and soak in the industrial sewing machines, heritage leather goods, the giant crafting table and giant mountain retail display, okay, and the corner bar full of rare whiskeys that I insisted was crucial for the success of our business. By which I mean it was crucial for my happiness. Some people are scared away and we’re okay with that, because the rest? They can’t help but be drawn in. It’s something unexpected, yet undeniable - just like that shirt with shoulder pads, our workshop, our products, and you.


     Case in point — the NUMA, the first leather bag I designed. When we first branched into leather goods, I told Dan what I needed was a leather fanny pack. And although he fought me at first, I finally won out. I fell in love immediately (a feeling I reserve only for beautiful products & animals). The NUMA fanny pack was cool, but as classic as a well-worn cowboy hat. At our next farmer's market, Dan sold it immediately. No biggie, he made another. And sold it. And another, and another, until I screamed “STOP SELLING MY BAG!” And told him we were officially bringing it on in our product offering. It's our all-time top selling product for good reason, because it’s the Shoulder Pad of leather bags. Some people think fanny packs are the bane of their existence, they would never wear one. Good, we craft stunning ones for those who can rock it and we don't worry about the others. As always, one of our awesome customers put it better than I ever could - the NUMA is adesign that walks the line between city elegance and country cool.” AMEN.


     Investing in good quality, well-designed stuff with heart lets you feel cool and avoid throwing away your money. Put on your favorite outfit, strap on the NUMA and just see how your day and mood unfolds.

-Maelstrom

     I love the Shoulder Pad Philosophy for the people it attracts. It pervades every aspect of our business, including our half workshop-half retail store. Every day, people walk by the Uphill Studio and do a double-take. At first it’s mostly because of Ragknarr’s ice blue eyes staring longingly out the door for a treat (we get it!), but then they’ll peak their head into our space and soak in the industrial sewing machines, heritage leather goods, the giant crafting table and giant mountain retail display, okay, and the corner bar full of rare whiskeys that I insisted was crucial for the success of our business. By which I mean it was crucial for my happiness. Some people are scared away and we’re okay with that, because the rest? They can’t help but be drawn in. It’s something unexpected, yet undeniable - just like that shirt with shoulder pads, our workshop, our products, and you.


     Case in point — the NUMA, the first leather bag I designed. When we first branched into leather goods, I told Dan what I needed was a leather fanny pack. And although he fought me at first, I finally won out. I fell in love immediately (a feeling I reserve only for beautiful products & animals). The NUMA fanny pack was cool, but as classic as a well-worn cowboy hat. At our next farmer's market, Dan sold it immediately. No biggie, he made another. And sold it. And another, and another, until I screamed “STOP SELLING MY BAG!” And told him we were officially bringing it on in our product offering. It's our all-time top selling product for good reason, because it’s the Shoulder Pad of leather bags. Some people think fanny packs are the bane of their existence, they would never wear one. Good, we craft stunning ones for those who can rock it and we don't worry about the others. As always, one of our awesome customers put it better than I ever could - the NUMA is adesign that walks the line between city elegance and country cool.” AMEN.


     Investing in good quality, well-designed stuff with heart lets you feel cool and avoid throwing away your money. Put on your favorite outfit, strap on the NUMA and just see how your day and mood unfolds.

-Maelstrom

learn more about taking a class