Last year, when I was buying leather in Paris, I had just enough time to squeeze in a visit to a hardware supply store that I had found online. All I knew about this place was that it was one of the oldest metal hardware foundries in Paris and that is was en route to CDG from where we were staying (a deal-breaker otherwise). It took a long time to find this tiny, dusted-over shop, tucked away in the 11th arrondissement. The ancient address barely visible, the dingy street barely noticeable, this was a far cry indeed from the shiny boutiques of the Marais.
My heart beat faster. This is the most exciting part of my design process: the thrill of the chase, the feeling of finding treasure on the path less traveled by.
I entered the shop to the clear, tinkly sound of a bell attached to the door. A man in his "troisieme age" or "3rd age" as they say in France, rose from behind the counter and greeted me warmly. He was the 5th generation to run this business, a brass factory that had outfitted the cavalry and armies of France for almost 2 centuries. Everything from decorative floral embellishments for the tall hats of les Générales; animal crests -running, sitting, pointing- signifying power and honour; a catalogue of every possible monogram in several flourished fonts. Every size and shape of rivet, loop, button closure... I had hit the jackpot. I wished immediately, deeply, desperately, that I had more time to spend, hours more, I wanted to see everything, hear every story, just stand in the dust and dream for a while.
Désolée! The taxi and my now impatient husband still waiting outside, I contented myself with a few choice pieces that I had never seen anywhere and have never found since. One of the key pieces is a U-shaped loop which can be screwed in from both ends. I have drilled holes into the eagle, beaver and bear plate pieces so that this U-bolt may be screwed into it from behind, making a wonderful, easy and secure clasp for my new line of bags.
Check them out in the shop: the Canvas Tote is rocking it right now!
I can't wait to get back to that shop with more time and more direction. So hard to focus when inspiration is all around me.
These days, it's simply and matter of time until the giant factories in China start making these things. Until then, I will cherish these genuine, hand-crafted bits and pieces. I will not compromise! They are part of what makes Lover Fighter special.