HI, MY NAME IS BRYAN SCHULTZ.
I am the inventor and owner of Obscure Belts. I started the company in 2005 after receiving my MFA in Sculpture from UW-Milwaukee. I like to reimagine ordinary objects (like belt buckles) as extraordinary mechanical marvels. At first belt-making was just a hobby for me. I started off rigging up a simple buckle out of scrap materials in my workshop, then made a few more for friends who liked my design. From there, the designs got more elaborate and a business was born.
Today, Obscure Belts is a company of two - me and my girlfriend Cristina. Together we travel the US selling our cool belts at art, music, and entertainment festival. Check out our Event page to see if we're coming to a festival near you.
Design & Innovation
PATENTED MECHANICAL BUCKLES
I started designing my buckles when I realized that traditional belt buckles haven’t changed very much in the last few centuries. A “normal” belt buckle has a square frame and center post that you have to weave your leather through. The design is boring and damages the belt over time by bending the leather in half every time you undo your belt.
I invented and patented a way to latch a buckle to a belt that is fun to open and doesn’t damage the leather. My design uses a mechanical action to attach to an adjustable sizing stud, not to the leather. To change your size you simply unscrew and move the stud to a different hole. Together, the buckle and stud act like a lock and offer cool ways to unlatch your belt.
FULL-GRAIN WISCONSIN LEATHER
My belts are one solid, thick piece of full-grain leather, unlike the industry standard of two thin pieces glued together. I work with a local seventy year old tannery in the heart of Milwaukee to make all my leather. I visit them often to learn about tanning techniques and put a lot of care into developing the color, texture, thickness, and feel of each hide. I hand-cut each leather strap, then size each belt to fit my customers’ specifications.
I currently make belts in standard smooth finishes of black and brown leather, as well as grey and brown ultra distressed finishes of Rough Rider leather. In the future I might experiment with other colors - drop me a line if you have any suggestions!