29 September 2011

Couch Guitar Straps: sustainable style with a retro-vibe

LA area-based Couch Guitar Straps specializes in—you guessed it—guitar straps. However, they also design and custom produce amazing retro-style men’s & unisex accessories, belts, wallets, and more (like passport & Kindle cases,) all from vintage, found, or stock automotive and industrial vinyl. The outcome is limited edition classic cool: unique handmade belts and accessories that are impossibly durable & ethically sourced—all without sacrificing design.

Let’s be honest, there are scads of women’s sustainable and vegan fashion websites, but few options exist for the average man interested in style that’s fits the trifecta of unique, vegan and environmentally sustainable. Couch creates the sort of iconic looks with an unmistakable vintage rock ‘n roll vibe, like the 70’s-80’s Volkswagen vinyl belt or the awesome Grey GMC Truck Bench Wallet, circa 1960. The pieces Couch creates are always limited edition, handmade and vegan—gear that’s stylishly utilitarian, cruelty-free and isn’t mass-produced.

I’ve picked up a few of Couch’s belts and a wallet in the past year, and have road-tested them for durability and wear. My two favorite belts (the Brown Western & 60’s Mustang Belt, since sold out,) have held up to constant wear with nary a scratch, despite much abuse. Finding a good non-leather wallet has been a sore spot for me—my last was an awesome recycled bike rubber model from Splaff, that unfortunately had a tendency to stretch out a bit. This hasn’t been the case with the Racer Wallet from Couch, easily holding four cards, plus a key fob and hasn’t lost its shape (and cleans up easily with the occasional coffee or cocktail spill.)

Couch Guitar Straps has a natural talent and obvious passion for design, their materials, mostly deadstock or reclaimed vinyl, have a classic feel that avoids pretentiousness. A bonus, you’ll look cool at affordable prices (an average cost for a Couch belt is around $19, wallets in the $25 range!) The process of which the crew at Couch creates their guitar straps, belts and wallets makes for a fascinating read—you can learn more about their creative process here. Check them out next time you find yourself looking for that standout belt, wallet (or guitar strap!)

Nathan Rivas Nathan is a passionate animal advocate and vegan in the Seattle-area, who lives with a crazed dachshund, an enormous Maine coon and a judgemental short haired black cat. Nathan graduated with a Bachelors of Science (summa cum laude) from Northeastern University. He is preparing for his Masters of Science program in the fall and likes to make jokes that involve the chemical compound arsole (and is totally addicted to gardein).

Photo credit: couchguitarstraps.com