The sun has definitely had his/her hat on today in Blighty! Even so, that I’m typing this whilst sat in the garden with a cold one…bliss 🙌
To tonight’s post, where we’ve managed to catch up with (literally) the travelling, wood artisan; @hobowoodtravel. Travelling from Barcelona (one of my favourite cities) to LA (one I’ve not been fortunate to visit…yet) in 2014 to harmonise his lifestyle with his creative woodworking skills, Xavier gave birth to Hobowood.
Hobowood is “…a meticulously crafted accesories brand which includes M. Lackland; a 76 Dodge Tioga mobile-home that I restored and updated with attention and craft care to the details. M.Lackland is Hobowood’s workshop for crafting while traveling around the US.” So cool!
In “M. Lackland” Xavier was able to strive + prosper in his journey to create the “…first wood carabiner on the market: a robust yet beautiful keychain made from 17 layers of pressed wood veneers, molded and shaped by hand.”
MEET THE BRAND BEHIND THE MENSWEAR
NAME: Xabier Ferro
POSITION: Artisan, Designer and Founder.
LOCATION: Los Angeles, and wherever I am with my wood shop on wheels. Transitioning to Barcelona during 2017.
SIZE OF TEAM: 1
SPECIALITY/COMPANY FOCUS: To make the finest wooden goods that no one has made before.
1. Straight forward, please tell us, how did your company Hobowood start out? (For people that don’t already know)
It all started when I arrived in Los Angeles from my hometown in Barcelona in 2011. I began to wear a metal carabiner for carrying my new keys. Soon, I became aware that key hooks never go unnoticed. They are so popular and a kind of symbol among underground culture. However, designers, jewellers, leather artisans, and fashion brands have practically ignored the latent qualities of the key hooks over the years. This shocking idea started me thinking that this item was in the middle of a cultural battle. The stigma around key chains is so evident that people put them away when going to certain social events. So why not take this opportunity to turn down the cultural prejudice and create a key hook that is sharp and stylish on any ocassion?
I’m a creative designer and a skilled artisan. For two years I strived passionately to create the first wood carabiner. My goal was to demostrate that the informal aesthetic of key hooks blended with the finest wood craftsmanship brings to life a new concept and a singular craftwork that the whole fashion world was missing. So first came the challenge of crafting a masterpiece never made before, and then Hobowood.
2. Tell us. What does a day in the life of yourself look like? What’s your daily work routine?
For 3 years I´ve been living and working in my workshop on wheels. Before returning to Barcelona I wanted to experience more about the diversity of American culture. I like to immerse myself in the city’s life, it nurtures my work and spirit. Now travels have brought me to the Pacific Northwest.
Day starts early with a tea and yoga. Emails and social media before putting hands to my work bench. I have all the tools and certified hardwoods to make the packaging and carabiner from my 76 Dodge Tioga wherever I am.
3. What do you see as being your signature item? The garment to take you forward?
In 2015, Hobowood released the most authentic concept and finest handmade to be married to a pair of jeans. Levi’s website says; Anyone can make a pair of blue jeans, but Levi Strauss Co. made the first blue jean. I seek to design and develop goods that blend ingenious craftsmanship with cultural values.
4. What’s your personal favourite garment when it comes to the items you manufacture?
I like all the carabiners; the grain, color, smell of each wood is different. However for the last 3 years, I’ve been using a walnut carabiner every day. This carabiner lifted a weight of 100 lbs, and went through a wash and dry cycle.
Each carabiner is individually constructed of 17 layers of the finest hardwoods in a mold press. Bent laminations do more than give the product a graceful look; when used as a structural element, it is much stronger than if the piece were cut from a single block of wood. The curved lamination process optimises strength where it is needed. Also there is the wooden packaging which is another distintive sign of the carefull and honest woodwork of Hobowood.
5. What are your thoughts on the rise of Instagram fashion and the chaps that post their clothing on there to help spread the word of their fave brands?
I’m not the regular fashion business. Like a skilled carpenter and creative I just found out that the whole fashion world was missing a genuine good. So this is my contribution to the fashion arena, and to those serious influencers, bloggers, magazines who like spread the word about authentic goods on Instagram.
6. Has it made an impact on your business at all, do you think?
It is really working and I had an amazing story. Last summer while walking in SF, just in the beginning of my business, and with no more than 60 followers, I turned to a 17 year old guy who was carrying a solid walnut skateboard. I wanted to look closely at it and as we kept talking I showed him the wood carabiner. I was shocked when he told me he had seen it before. He knew the guy making them was traveling in a motorhome. I was really impressed with how fast Instagram can spread the word.
7. Is there any feeds on IG that you particularly like to check-in on regular. What brands are you fond of on there? What menswear feeds to you like to peruse?
I follow genuine brands like Levi’s and Converse. Two examples of iconic brands that started out from an unconventional product that was both, well made and culturally new. Nevertheless like a creative artisan I like to folow my own peers outside of the fashion scene.
@thonet_gmbh; a furniture company who created the first steam bend chairs in 1830, in Austria, and it’s been an stimulating model since I began woodworking 20 years ago.
8. A quick one about you. Other than the business, what passions do you have in life? What flicks your switch and helps you relax?
I have a passion for photograpy that tells stories, urban ethnography, cycling, experimental flamenco and hanging out with friends in a good tapas bar…just to mention a few.
9. What do you consider to be the best thing about your business and why?
The joy of sharing, with the most discerning and independent people, our passion for creating new things that produce both a durable satisfaction and a renewed excitement for upcoming projects. During my West Coast travels, I visited Renovo hardwoods bicycle company, Gary Rogoswki the Director of the Northwest Woodworking Studio both in Portland, and boatbuilding instructors in Port Townsend, WA. All of them were amazed and interested with the craftsmanship of the wood carabiner and it’s packaging. The French designer Ora Ïto, one of the most famous designers in the world, sent me a message with a word, “Top”. Needless to say that I love the confluence between the heritage of the work culture with the nonconformity of the creative culture.
10. And Lucky Last, You’re going to be stranded on a desert island and you can take 1 outfit (4 items) only with you. And 1 choice of drink.
What would they be? And Why?
In this case I´d rather, more goods than clothes.
1). @leathermantools multi-use knife for building a canoe and to make a halibut hook for fishing.
2). @thonet_gmbh chair no.209 to watch the sunset
3). Spanish flamenco guitar from @condeatocha shop in Madrid
4). A pair of confortable commuter @levis to climb palms when it’s needed and a white wine bottle to pair with crabs and oysters.
Can just hear that Spanish flamenco guitar as the waves crash against the beach and wonder, would we ever want to be saved from that nirvana? Ha, such a good story Xabier man.
“Hobowood is an adventure to be lived, an excitement to share with creative individuals, friends, family to be part of a trip…” Inspiring stuff!
If our calendars are correct then you lucky so-and-sos could have FOUR blogs still to come this week so stay tuned in to the usual avenues. Busy, busy, busy…
Have a tip-top week dudes + dudettes! Stay close. Speak Soon.