We met Martin from SideWinder quite early on in our development of The Makers initiative; a London-based vintage and denim appreciator, Martin has more recently developed his own interpretation of classic design, fabric and construction with his collection of rucksacks. We will be learning more from Martin as we develop a collaborative luggage piece for NoKipple.
NK: How did you learn your craft?
SA: I learnt my craft my teaching myself on the job, making items for personal use. The first thing I made was a belt. Very basic & simple - 5mm thick leather, hand riveted but made to last a lifetime. I’ve worn it every day for the past 4 years and it just gets better every day. From that I moved onto basic sewing of a bag and application of the leatherwork. It’s developed from there.
NK: What inspires you when creating a new design?
SA: I’m very much influenced & inspired by products of the past. Things that are timeless, tried & tested. I have no desire to push at boundaries or reinvent the wheel, but it might be a shape or a little detail I try to incorporate. For example- the rear leather piece on my bags is inspired by the shape of a pocket flap on an A2 jacket.
NK: Which do you value most, form or function?
SA: I firmly believe you can't (or certainly shouldn’t) have one without the other. To have form but no function may make an item pretty to look at, but useless in practical terms. Function without form takes an item to its lowest common denominator and whilst there can still be beauty in that, it’s severely diminished, in my opinion.
NK: Are there any other skills which you would like to learn to complement what you already do?
SA: I’d love top improve my sewing and leatherworking skills - mainly for the pleasure of making stuff for myself. Patternmaking, grading & cutting would also be a very useful skill to have.
NK: Looking at the artisan scene as a whole, who do you like and why?
SA: I’m a big fan of Dawson Denim. As well as being lovely people they have an immense knowledge & passion for what they do and spend a huge amount of time an effort to get their products ‘just-so’. I have immense respect for anyone who just gives it a go.
NK: Outside of the artisan scene, which brands do you like and why?
SA: I tend to concentrate on the basics such as the perfect sweatshirt or the perfect jean. While this is extremely subjective, I generally follow a lot of the Japanese and US Workwear & repro brands who seem to produce the best offerings. they collectively produce some truly beautiful pieces. For sweatshirts, it’s Deluxeware, Two Moon & Studio d‘Artisan. Jeans - I’m currently in a Samurai phase but I do flit about every now and then.
NK: At NoKipple we see a lot of value in short run, custom made products by craftsmen, what do you think the appeal is in these kind of goods?
SA: I think the items have an added personality. They’re not mass made by some corporation with no thought other than producing vast quantities and a low price and potential low quality to appease shareholders. They’re made by people who put a lot of pride and effort into their products. It’s not a particularly easy road to go down and the financial rewards are pretty slim. The satisfaction one gets from it however is priceless.
Martin is a knowledgeable and focused Maker who is exploring vintage inspired products, drop him a line here.