To Jon Wye, DC's sole apparel manufacturer, a belt is much more than an accessory – it's an artistic and storytelling medium. The belts Wye makes are much more than your run-of-the-mill mass manufactured leather cinctures. Some are covered in dizzying, nearly fractal patterns. Others are awash with mermaids, aliens and monsters. Some tell stories of pirate chefs, dogs and alien space zombies. The settings of the belted tall tales range from the wild west to deep, deep under the ocean. Our personal favorite? Well, we're partial to the dinosaurs making toast.
Jon Wye started his belt business in 2004 after wanting to start crafting belts and finding a willing partner. When she made an overseas move, Wye rolled up his sleeves and go to work – filling his free time with illustrating, craftsmanship and letting his imagination soar. Wye's inventiveness payed off. In the past nine years his business has graduated from its modest beginnings in his parents' garage, gained a staff in addition to bringing on more artists as well as expanding his efforts beyond waistlines and onward to dog collars, guitar and camera straps, wallets and other accessories.
For those who are tentative of letting raptors hold up your trousers, Wye also makes simple, classic numbers. And his graphic belts combine the inventive, frenetic sense of his story lines with clean lines and patterns. Visit him at the Downtown Holiday Market through December 23rd. Say, didn't Dad say he was in need of a belt? Bet he won't expect these zombies in the wild west.