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Nathan Gryszowka Shares What He Looks for in a Leather

As far as this designer’s concerned, skin is always in.

Nathan visiting one of his NYC suppliers, Libra Leathers.

For Nathan Gryszowka, the creative whiz behind the refreshingly simple wallet line, Maxx & Unicorn, design is a constant: Each of his bi-folds is constructed the exact same way, using a single piece of leather and an impressive folding technique he developed. But this guy isn’t resting on his laurels. To make each design special, he pays a lot of attention to skins and their varying characteristics. Here, he lets us peek into his leather-sourcing process and talks through the stellar hide he chose for his Of a Kind edition. —alisha prakash

Like what you see? Well, now’s your chance to score one for yourself—right here!—before they’re gone.

“In general, horse, calf, and cow are mostly what I look for.”

“Leather can be very hairy on the back side. I’m always looking for a very compact, flat skin, and it has to fall within a certain millimeter parameter in terms of thickness in order to construct the wallet.”

“I get brightly colored kid skins from a vendor in Boston—it’s a very different type of tanning process. The leather I used for the Of a Kind wallet is a buff cowhide. It’s a deep, dark navy color, heavier than our standard leather cowhide, with a really soft and polished finish. I was thinking of denim and sliding wallets into the back pockets of my jeans. As you wear this wallet, it’s going to fade around the edges, like your jeans would.”

“To start the aging process once the wallet is completed, we give it a dump in warm water, which makes the dyes a little erratic. Then, we give it a little squeeze, and that redistributes some of the dyes as well—so you’re going to see a little bit of rumple in the wallets. This is not meant to be pristine and sharp and clean. It’s supposed to take on character and grow with you.”