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Martin Dingman’s New Sport Utility Bags

William Kissel

For the past decade, Martin Dingman has used rugged saddle leather to line his signature men’s belts, and it’s using the same sturdy leather to create Rudyard Collection, a limited-edition line of sport utility bags ($225 to $725). “Have you ever seen an old, worn, scratched, and scarred saddle that has gained its beautiful character from years of use?” asks Dingman, the Arkansas-based footwear and accessories designer. “These old friends will long outlast their original owner if cared for properly.” The look and sturdiness of genuine saddle leather is created by an old-world tanning process where heavy raw skins are immersed for months in a tea-like bath of warm water mixed with scraps of tree bark. Next, the “tanned” hides are tumbled in an oversize wooden drier to achieve a softer touch and pebble texture. “The inherent nature of this material enables it to withstand rain, sun, and snow, extreme temperatures, as well as tremendous wear and tear,” says Dingman, who discovered the beauty of saddle leather while growing up on his grandfather’s horse ranch. In addition to the designer’s signature persimmon-colored lining, each bag is outfitted with an extra-wide shoulder strap with satin nickel hardware that Dingman says is reminiscent of a saddle girth “to help distribute the weight of each bag, making it considerably more comfortable to carry.” (www.martindingman.com)

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