Author: CHRISTOPHER KELLY
We repurposed a slew of belt strips into camera straps. Our goal is alwasy repurpose / recycle and reuse.
We designed, patterned, prototyped and created some new leather camera straps with a bit thicker leather than normal and they came out terrific. Sewing on our heavy duty machine is easier with heavier leather.
Rogue Journeymen was founded in late 2015 by the mechanics of Topanga Creek Outpost which is an outdoor adventure bicycle shop that’s been operating since 1999. Rogue Journeymen’s mantra The Spirit of Finding Your Own Way can be traced back a while when Chris who felt restless in the original Hollywood location escaped the urban sprawl by relocating the bike shop to Topanga Canyon in 2008. To further pursue everyone’s passion for adventure cycling and mountain biking, Chris and the rest of the mechanics decided to stop carrying the lucrative line of road bikes and urban bikes, and only focus on getting people out on adventures with bikepacking bikes, mountain bikes and touring gear. While being deeply immersed in Topanga’s creative energy, the crew continued to find their way and ended up pursuing a new creative outlet outside the bike world.
To continue down the creative path, in 2015 we started working with leather and canvas for our own tool/work bags and aprons The mechanics set up a full leather workbench inside the bike shop. When Christmas came around they wanted to test the waters and made a batch of leather valet trays to sell as Christmas gifts, mainly to see if people were even interested in these time-consuming and handcrafted items in a world that’s taken over by click-now-and-get-it-tomorrow reality. Turned out that people loved the valet trays and our other mechanic friends at bike shops around the US loved the aprons and bags.. Customers started to make requests for other leather goods. With that encouragement we have continued making gear and Rogue Journeymen is an operation of its own.
People often ask what makes Topanga such a special place. Topanga is a mountain community on the outskirts of Los Angeles and is also deemed an artist enclave since the 1950’s. It’s been home to legendary musicians like Woodie Guthrie, Neil Young and Alice Cooper. In fact, the bicycle shop cabin was once the practice studio for Jim Morrison and the Eagles. The creative vibe is felt everywhere and it inspired our team to tear down the standard retail store slot walls and replace them with handmade display furniture, all crafted in-house. One day a friend of the shop Danny, a luthier by trade, dropped off a box of scrap and discarded guitar wood as fuel for the shop’s potbelly stove. Fascinated by the interesting shapes of half-finished guitar necks, head stocks, and main bodies, the crew came up with the idea to craft tables out of them instead of burning them. The tables were so unique that they not only created an artisanal ambience, but also resonated the musical history of the shop.
Please visit us if you are in the area. Chances are great that a mechanic will be working on a new bike under the oak trees while others are creating new leather canvas goods. We stay rooted in our goals of creative sustainability by always using bike boxes for our tags as a way to recycle and stay grounded in our roots.