Thursday, April 16, 2009

Speaking of BillyKirk...


The Brothers Bray invited me to their West Village showroom last week to see the whole BillyKirk collection, much of which is stitched up by Amish bridle-making craftsmen.  Afterwards, they told me childhood hunting tales over Scotch eggs and brewskies...

Christopher Thomas ("Chris"/"CT") and William Kirkland ("Kirk"/"BillyKirk"/"BK") Bray were born in east Tennessee and reared in Minnesota, just outside St. Paul.  They lost their accents, but kept ties to their Southern roots through years of trips to see their grandparents. They fished. They hunted. They once watched their uncle field dress and cook a squirrel in a span of five minutes.  (Tennessee squirrels aren't like NYC squirrels, Chris explained).  After college, they moved to L.A. where Kirk bought a '70s leather watch band at a pawn shop. Everyone loved that watch band -- and they figured someone should recreate it.  The brothers, who always knew they wanted to work together, had their business.  They went out and bought leather, apprenticed under a third-generation leather craftsman and eventually acquired a bunch of his equipment.  They've been turning out vintage-inspired men's leather goods and accessories ever since.  They enlisted the Amish when they moved East, but still do all the finishing in house. Fantastic stuff.

Two generations of Bray (the brothers, their dad, Tom, and Chris' best friend, Paul) shooting BB guns and .22s in the Minnesota woods.

Raybans, Sperry's and a load of crappies (and sunfish) in East Tennessee.

Kirk, who's also a painter, with the No. 214 Waxed Cotton and Leather Laptop Satchel w/adjustable shoulder strap ($380).

Chris with the No. 196 Waxed Cotton Game Bag w/adjustable shoulder strap ($300).

One of my personal favorites (top shelf, left): the No. 179 Leather Tote w/Two Sets of Handles ($300)

(Many thanks to the Brays for the childhood photos!).

4 comments:

Stuboy183 said...

Hi there !

just wanted to let you know that those little eggs of awesomeness are called "Scotch Eggs" ... I grew up going to football(soccer)games with my Dad and Uncle and having these or a mince pie and Bovril at half time ...

Classic !

Cheers me dears.

good to hear that they are making a dent in stomachs in the US..

Mrs. Blandings said...

Gorgeous - and the prices are so reasonable. (Dont' tell them I said so.)

Heir Antiques said...

Love the Brothers Bray. Amazing stuff. great guys. That Tote in Tan is so perfect. yes please...

suzanne nelson said...

Beautiful bags and leatherware - thanks for spreading the word! i too was going to advise they are all ways called 'Scotch eggs' - one can make darling miniature versions with quails eggs for delicious canapes at cocktail time...