Almost a week since I received the faith x Ken type II industrial belt.
I’ve oiled it and applied two layers of wax mixture, and rubbed down the edges a couple of times with oil and wax.
My impressions when I first handled this belt was that it was slightly lighter than the heavier weight belts I’ve used (KC’s, Red Moon, Dolce Vita, etc) – but that was to be expected, as Kurt mentioned in that the belt was between 4.5 and 5 mm thick (my calliper is broken, but a replacement is coming soon – exact thickness of the belt will be reported soon) after the pressurisation treatment process.
However, due to this high pressure method, I noticed that the leather appeared much more ‘compact’ / dense than the other belts I’ve seen here and there; this is especially noticeable on the grain side.
This compactness and the tree bark pattern give this belt a texture that is very unique – like nothing I have seen in person before – just as well, since I’m a texture-guy (even with denim, it’s not the fades that get to me, it’s the texture) – it feels harder and more ‘slippery’ than other vegetable tanned leather, with very pleasing ridging and bumps along a finger’s stroke.
I think Kurt was very right in naming this belt ‘industrial’ – both the leather and the build are very sturdy.
So far as I can tell, this leather is very abrasion- & water-resistant – light fingernail scratches leave no marks on it’s surface.
The corium-side has been very well finished with a smooth feel – and the edges have been expertly shaped.
The little details are also very exciting: the nicely shaped taper, the hand-punched and hand-broken rivet, the fish-shaped & individually numbered pin holes, the thick threading, the custom solid-brass buckle, the hand-stamped name, etc… these all add to the uniqueness & excitement of this belt.
All in all, this faith x Ken collaboration is an excellent belt – punching much above it’s price-range. In fact, if you asked me to choose between this belt and a Samurai/Red Moon/The Flat Head belt (some of the more expensive Japanese makes), I would not hesitate in taking this one.
More updates in a couple of weeks!
Warning: Irrelevant Rant
The following are just my personal opinion – no insults meant to anybody, and feel very free to debate me using comments…
To be honest, most of the basic garrison belts that the Japanese makers are producing at the moment don’t really excite me!
Looking at them closely, most of them are…premium vegetable tanned US steer hide or UK bridle leather, 4 to 6.5 mm thick, made in Japan, generic (but good quality) buckle.
Sure, they are very thick one-piece belts that are made with great care and expertise & most seem to age very gracefully and beautifully – but they all look so similar and give me the same vibe, I personally cannot sense any uniqueness or signature in these belts.
The exception to this are the belts that Kawatako is making – the interesting shape of the taper and the intriguing Tochigi leather – one of the few Japanese makes that I’ve considered picking up lately.
For a moderate price, I can get the same, if not higher, quality leather custom hand-made with great expertise into a belt of my own specification by a private leather craftsmen – this way, not only do I know where my money is going to, but I also receive an excellent education about the product from the craftsman during the customisation conversations.
Don’t get me wrong, I think Sugar Cane, KC’s, Dolce Vita, Vintage Works, Warehouse, etc are making high quality products that are very good value-for-money for the Japanese market (and indeed, one of my favourite belts is a Dolce Vita collaboration).
But I think that if your simple leather belt costs more than $150, you’re paying too much unless it’s made of elephant, croc, shark or something similar, or that it has significant customisations and handiwork invested. This is especially true for people from countries such as the US, UK, Australia, etc where much of the highest quality leathers originate.