Makers & Brothers

Mitch Alfus | Leather King

New York is a city of real personalities and curious characters not afraid to be what and who they want to be. It is a city that allows creative freedom and welcomes the unconventional and wonderful, ever so slightly odd. A place we love to return to for characters that inhabit the city as much as any thing else. This video exemplifies the colourful nature of New Yorkers through one fun, raw and unique individual, Mitch Alfus, and the self-titled Leather King.

‘This is my form of painting, my form of photography, my form of being somewhat different.’

Mitch Alfus, born and raised in New York, is the subject of this The Selby video, one of a series offering an insiders view of interesting creative professionals in their personal spaces. The short film captures a nuanced portrait of Mitch by following his day chronologically.

After spending two years in Argentina, working with and learning all he could about leather, Mitch returned to New York in 1977 and began sourcing leathers. He went in search of the softer leathers of Europe, as opposed to the heavier leather that South America is known for, and in the process founded Libra Leather, a provider of high-end leather and suede skins to US designers.

‘By 1980 I was the only one in America bringing in lightweight, beautiful, sumptuous leather and suede skins. Sumptuous, … buttery, soft.’

‘Constructive criticism, that’s all!’

This video gives us an intimate insight into the world of Mitch Alfus, and to his amazing apartment. It is fascinating to watch his contrasting personalities, when he transforms from a doting father to a competitive businessman, as he moves from his home to a distinct work context. The world he creates at home, his private space, is miles away from the atmosphere at work.

We particularly love the scene where he brings us into his leather archives and rummages through prints and exotic skins of the 70s and 80s. A bold New Yorker, he is a wonderful interesting character and a classic eclectic businessman.

Video by The Selby

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