“Statement” is an often-used word in fashion. For us in the industry, we’ve already lost count on how many times we heard it. Statement earrings, statement necklaces, statement bracelets… and now statement belts.
Wait, statement belts? Now, that’s something that we should talk about.
Our radar was piqued when we got to know businesswoman Laura Shape, the creative mind and braun behind For Love & Legacy, a brand that specializes in artisanal belt buckles.
Of course, we just had to ask, “Why focus solely on belt buckles?”
Shape says that she initially created different types of jewelry, though she didn’t get personal fulfilment from doing so.
“There are so many amazing jewelry designers now that it was hard for me to find my own voice without feeling like I was just copying something I’d seen somewhere else,” says Shape. “On the other hand, there aren’t a lot of belt buckle designers out there, and majority of the statement belt buckles I’ve seen are really Western or brand-themed, like Harley Davidson.”
It was after seeing an image of the Hindu god Shiva at a friend’s party that Shape finally found her aesthetic: designs that are based from icons around the world, “whose meanings have transcended time and location” for millennia.
For the past few years, Shape has been handcrafting molds of statement buckles, using imagery such as an elephant and an octopus, and even the femme fatale Medusa. She then works with the Indiana Metal Craft company to cast her creations into 100% solid brass. Each statement belt buckle comes with its own leather strap.
Throughout her operations, Shape has found out that belts and their buckles, like their other accessory contemporaries, also have stories to tell.
“A friend pointed out to me that belt buckles can carry a lot of power because if you believe in the concept of chakras, they sit at the second chakra, which is our energy center for passion and creativity,” says Shape. “When you create something, it comes from your second chakra and the image you wear in that spot helps amplify your power and personality.”
On a more practical note, Shape has also learned that a lot of people have inherited belt buckles from their fathers and grandfathers, which puts them into “a sort of lowbrow family heirloom status.” Through this knowledge, Shape wants to create accessories that can be passed from one generation to another.
“Belt buckles are a technology that’s unlikely to change,” says Shape. “If you were to find one of my buckles in a thousand years, you could put a belt on it and it would still hold up your pants just as well as it does today.”
Let’s count on future fashion journalists to find that out for themselves eons from 2016.
—Eugene Y. Santos