The Handcrafted Belt

A Jason Ross’ hand-crafting process is as unique as the belts he designs. Once Donna and design director Peter Speliopoulos set the season’s mood, Jason and his team develop prototypes in the spirit of the collection, inspired by their archive of antiques, old tools and images sourced from museums and libraries. They fashion working prototypes, each with original custom-designed buckles, which are narrowed to final selections by Donna and Peter. Then the magic begins. Each belt is entirely hand-assembled using tools that leatherworkers have used for centuries. The strap is individually cut from a full leather hide, then carefully hand-dyed in up to four coats to fit the season’s color story. An exclusive combination of oils and waxes are applied to the leather for its signature luxurious look and feel. The buckle, cast in solid brass or nickel silver, is hand-finished to achieve the uniquely antiqued patina. Additionally, each rivet is hand-ground and polished, with no two rivets exactly alike.  The final touch comes from an antique hot-stamping machine, which brands each belt with “A. Jason Ross for Donna Karan”  and its provenance, “Made in the USA”.


A. Jason Ross’s leather accessories are true artisan pieces. Each is unique and handmade – a personal object of desire you’ll own forever. I love his work because it’s raw, sexy and creative. It comes from the soul. You can feel the hand that went it to it, the history of the leather and hardware. The pieces look and feel individual because they are – which is why they instantly become a part of you. The formal label is Artemas Quibble and the Creatures of Mme du Barry, and like the name suggests, there’s a quirky, creative element to the work. Every piece is hand-stained, then detailed with silver, brass and reclaimed antique objects. Like the artisan he is, Jason has made many of the tools he works with, which help give patina and character to his work. Jason, who lives and works in Red Hook, Brooklyn, calls his work “a celebration of what has been lost.” Yet to me, there’s a timeless modernity to his pieces – whether it’s his jewelry, bags or belts, which we are presenting with our Modern Icons Spring Collection.  I’ve known and collaborated with Jason for a long time through Urban Zen. Jason’s work preserves and honors the artisan hand in a modern context. Creatively and personally, I’m a huge fan. You will be too.

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