This is a collaboration with J.Hopenstand.
I have never been a fan of wearing belts, no matter if it has been to a pair of denims, trousers or suit. There is something that have never felt right by wearing any belts such as the the width, length of it or the shape of the buckle. And let’s face it, I’m one of the those guys who like simplicity and side adjusters for my trousers. But never say never, since I had the opportunity to try a custom made belt from J.Hopenstand, things have changed.
J. Hopenstand started their journey already in 1925 where Jacques Hopenstand opened his first workshop in Paris. It was in this workshop where Jacques started to craft unique belts that was put together by thread and needle by his own hands. The vision was to meet his customers wishes, choosing leather and design together, creating bespoke belts that were not like anything else. His creations became well known among the Haute couture houses in Paris, which created partnerships and collaborations for years to come. After nearly 40 years of welfare, Jacques decided to close his workshop in Paris and moved to lake Leman in Switzerland.
It was not until half a century later that his great-grandsons, Rémi and Renaud Defrancesco, re-opened a workshop in Pully, Switzerland to bring the heritage of J. Hopenstand into the new generation. The re-opening of the workshop just outside Lausanne was built on the same vision as Jacques had, with focus on the customers, the craftsmanship and the product. The brothers brought new life into J.Hopenstand and stayed true to its legacy, re-invented products and brought the brand into the digital area. A service where the customer can sit at home, getting guidance through designs, buckles and different leather types and in the end to be able to create a unique accessories from home. This is where my journey started.
I had the opportunity to try one of their reversible belt, and to be honest I was doubtful at first. Not for the sake of the product, but that I needed to start wearing a belt and to do something that I’m not used. In the end I decided to go for it as I was very interested of the history and craftsmanship of the belts, and in the end to be able to share my experience with my readers.
Let us continue with placing an order for a customised belt from the selection collection. There are lot of choices and you start off with selecting the type of material that the belt should be manufactured in. You can choose from different two-sided materials which includes bull-calf, nubuck, nubuck and bull-calf and box and bull-calf leather. In my case I went for the ebony and black”bull calf leather on both sides.
Next step would be to choose from the 5 different buckles in what the belt should be manufactured with. The alternatives includes more classic buckles to J.Hopenstand iconic J-shaped buckle, and the one that I chose for my belt. In the next step of the belt configuration, there will be an option to choose sizes between 80-110 cm, a size span that will cover most of the waists. As this is more of a made to order service, the last and final step in process includes an optional choice of personalised initials. Something that I in the end declined as I wanted a clean belt as possible.
There are five different buckles to choose from, everything from a more classic buckle to their iconic J-shaped buckle. The full list of buckles includes the J.Hopenstand buckle, classic, aero, reversible and art-deco. Most of them are available in different finishes such as gold, silver and black. I decided to go for their iconic J-shaped buckle as its represent the history of the brand, but their art-deco buckles are something different.
In the next step of the belt configuration, there will be an option to choose sizes between 80-110 cm, a size span that will cover most of the needed waist sizes. Make sure that you measures an already existing belt from the buckle to the hole that you normally use. That will be the measurement to enter here to achieve a good fit.
A common feature in made to order services is that you are able to choose a personalised initial, and J.Hopenstand is no different. The last and final step in process includes an optional choice of personalised initials that can be done in different colors and positions. What I like here is that that you are able to choose a position that is not visible when you are wearing the belt. I declined any initial as I wanted a simplistic design on the belt.
I always want to give a honest review as possible about the products that I buy or try in collaboration with different brands. From my perspective, it should not make any difference if you bought a product yourself or received it for a review. Once again, this is a collaboration with J.Hopenstand and I was offered the possibility to try their service to be able to review one of their customised belts.
Let us start from the beginning. I placed my order on J.Hopenstand 26th of April, and it was delivered 30th of April just outside my apartment with FedEx. So the promise with 1-2 weeks delivery time for their selection line stays true. After been wearing the belt since then, and wearing it with various of outfits, I’m positive, very positive. I never been person who wears belt by some reason, but this belt helped me to start wearing one. What I like the most about the belt is the gold finished J-shaped buckle and the reversible leather. Having two of the most versatile colors, dark brown and black, featured in the same belt make me question if I need any more dressed belts in my wardrobe. The bull calf leather is soft and exactly what I expected in terms of color and quality of the leather. I even tried to find any irregularities in the leather without any success which indicates that a high quality leather have been used. The same applies for the craftsmanship and sewing, everything looks neat without any irregularities.
So is it worth a price tag at €220? Well, that depends on who you ask. Some may say that is a lot of money for a belt, others would say its affordable. Judging from the amount of time that the artisans must put into the manufacturing of the belt in France and that only quality material is used, leads me to the conclusion that this is a well made product worth the asked price.