Boots, menswear and brews provided the backdrop for the first weekend of the East Austin Studio Tour (EAST) at the HELM showroom back in 2013. Visitors were welcomed by the smell of leather, flannel and Hops and Grain, the small East Austin craft brewer. EAST enthusiasts were also welcome to explore the Artpost’s surrounding grounds dotted with sculptures and installations.
HELM owner Joshua Bingaman used EAST as an excuse to host two men with two brands that complement HELM’s American-made ideals and aesthetic. Brian Phillips’ artwork was made from salvaged materials: old bed boards, lumber, rocking chairs, piano arms, letterpress, beer cans, etc.. He mastered the use of local resources found in unexpected places. Like HELM boots, each piece was inspired by American history and heritage.
Sam Hill was another natural fit. Kyle Muller, the man behind Sam Hill, explained that his inspiration came from the past. Back in the day “there was a quality and functionality that often dictated style,” he mused. Racks of vintage flannel and overalls paid homage to Muller’s one-of-a-kind perspective on menswear.
The blend of three unique yet complementary visions got people talking.
Uncharted Style’s Michelle Pimm was one such guest. “I was really excited to see HELM’s handmade boots,” she wrote. “The boots complimented the Sam Hill popup shop perfectly. If these companies decide to stick together—they could easily be a strong force for menswear in Austin. The fellas were feeling it.”