Abundant and sturdy, leather has long been associated with the style vocabulary of cattle country: think of all those hand-tooled saddles, chaps, and gun holsters used by cowboys past. Now a new generation of Texas designers is taking the material off the range and giving it a modern spin, applying a low-tech, hands-on approach to produce sophisticated accessories that still bear a hint of rusticity. Of course, one thing will always remain the same: the more worn-in the leather gets, the better it looks. Permission granted to beat it up.
1. What happens when three cousins—a geologist, a mountaineer, and a world traveler—put their stylish heads together? They form Bexar Goods, a San Antonio–based company that creates leather and waxed-canvas totes and satchels. Founded in 2011, the company is devoted to making everything in-house, never outsourcing any step of the process. From $195; bexargoods.com
2. Joshua Bingaman’s leather work boots—meant to be worn with suits as well as jeans—aren’t made in Texas, but they are made in the USA (Maine, to be exact), using mostly American materials. That domestic-minded ethos is echoed in his recently opened Helm storefront, in Austin, which deals exclusively in stateside-sourced items. From $389; helmboots.com
3. Because Austin’s Noah Marion typically uses non-dyed leather for his Dopp kits, coin purses, catchalls, and other handcrafted accoutrements, they darken with age. They also proudly show off stains, scratches, and other signs of everyday wear, making them as unique as the people who own them. From $25; noahmarion.com
4. Old-fashioned methods such as saddle stitching and waxing raw edges lend a nostalgic feel to the vegetable-tanned leather goods created by Dallas’s Barrett Alley. We especially like the Smuggler’s Belt, with a secret interior sleeve for whatever you deem worthy of concealment. From $95 (Smugger’s Belt, $245); barrettalley.com