Stories / September 2019

Elliot Rhodes: A Road Less Travelled

This British label took the unconventional route of offering belts distinguished by design and craftsmanship, not bold branding.

When a decade and a half ago, Justin Elliot Rhodes began talking about establishing a business selling nothing but belts, many thought he’d lost the plot. Grimly predicting the venture would last no more than a year, naysayers pointed out that most consumers only possess a handful of belts: a couple brown, a few black, perhaps one tan, all done. And in the luxury sphere, belts are inevitably focused on the logo buckle — mostly in the form of a letter or two.

Rhodes didn’t fancy logos, not at all. And he rather liked a splash of colour. His plan went against the grain (if you’ll forgive the leather pun). Rhodes intended to offer his belts in a broad range of hues and animal hides, including more than 500 leather belt straps in a variety of widths, and an extensive choice of buckles, a range that is today growing close to 1,000. Remarkably, the buckles would eschew bold-faced branding in favour of artisanal production, quirky motifs and subtle design details.

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Christian Barker

Christian Barker is The Rake's Asia editor-at-large, a frequent contributor to this site, and an enthusiastic consumer of fine whiskies, sashimi and classic disco music - ideally in unison.

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