HOW much thought do you give to your waist-wear? Probably, if you’re like most people, not much.
But, Elliot Rhodes, London’s only bespoke belt-makers, trying to change that with two shops that are more like fantasy dressing up wardrobes than leather goods shops.
“The more I looked at belts, the less I could find of them,” says Justin Rhodes, owner of the company. “They’re a very neglected product – a necessity but no more. Brands use them as a brand vehicle – whack a logo on it and expect you to do their publicity.”
Rhodes sees buckles as jewellery or works of art; straps as an opportunity for self-expression and the combined result as statement-making as a mohawk or as elegant and personal as a hand-made suit.
Here’s how it works: you choose a strap and you choose a buckle and they put them together for you. Straps are made from pony hair, python, stingray (and less unusual materials and textures) in colours from orange to pink to purple, green and black.
Then you’ve got the buckles – and this is where the jewellery element comes in. These come in gemstones, sterling silver and – Rhodes’s favourite – prehistoric shark teeth, five-10m years old, set in sterling silver.
And, of course, size matters. The shop will pierce the belts to get them as big or small as you need on your chosen strap. Which is great if you’ve put on some weight – or lost some. My own belt – a green croc skin number with a bejewelled green buckle, is beautiful and – best of all – big enough to fit round a post-holiday gut.
From £80, www.elliotrhodes.com