The American Southwest has been, and always will be, the place where our best painters, makers, and other off-the-grid types congregate to do their freaky thing under the big blue sky. The open space, the dry heat, the sculptural plant life, the spartan surroundings- it lends itself well to the expansiveness of thought and the solitude of being that will always lead to the creation of good things.
I first found the work of Rene T Holguin from working on visuals at Levi’s. Inside our prop room we had the most amazing moccasins, leather-feather necklaces, hand-beaded kilt pins, funny bolo ties and kiltie boot swag. Each small item, be it a necklace made of leather rope and hand-cut flowers or an elaborate head wrap possessed a sense of both high-style, humor, and american craft that caught my eye and never left.
Holguin’s father owned the Laramie Boot Company in El Paso, Texas. Here he cut his teeth with leather goods while learning the family craft, all the while keeping a keen eye on style – both that of his South West surroundings, and elsewhere, growing obsessive with collecting Tommy Hilfiger and Ralph Lauren duds. Holguins love for all things Americana led him East, where he worked for bastions of preppy-cool like Ralph Lauren, J.Crew, and Club Monaco before becoming Senior VP of Global Creative Services for Levi Strauss.
Now it has come full circle, with Holguin crafting and creating his own world from the back of his independently-owned charming LA outpost.
RTH is petite, with a leather workroom in the back, and is filled mostly with one-off unisex accessories and vintage Ralph Lauren from Holguin’s own personal collection. The look is recognizable for it’s potpourri of hard-to-pigeonhole references. The end result is visually bizarre at first, but I promise – — once you put on a rope belt with a jesus smock you’ll wonder why you ever thought the look nonsensical.