In the scorching heat of Arizona, companies bring a different sense of style and design to leatherwork compared to styles found in the colder climes of the north. The necessity for cool is extremely prevalent, and therefore, designs found in Arizona are much lighter, designed to give off a sense of cool and lightness and above all, a sense of style that feels at home in the desert. And nobody does this better than Bison.
Based in Phoenix, Bison is a company with cool and style in mind. They design and build all of their products as works of art as well as works of modern engineering and use only American sourced materials. All of their products are built by hand with no glue or rubber — what you see is what you get. And I really like that.
The iPhone 5 Wallet uses American-sourced leather and polyester thread. Really, that’s all there is to it. Two ingredients combined to make a perfectly simple piece of leatherwork.
The leather, as I mentioned, is American-sourced. It is relatively thin leather, maybe 2-3oz, and extremely soft to the touch, which I rather prefer in an iPhone sleeve. Thick leather is hard to get in and out of your pocket and it makes it hard to insert and remove the phone. It is a single piece of chrome tanned leather, which is really well burnished and finished to an exquisitely soft touch.
The stitching is done by hand with polyester thread. The polyester has the same qualities and function as nylon, but will not deteriorate with exposure UV rays. This comes in handy under the bright sun that can weaken thread with long term exposure.
The construction of this piece really is fantastic. I love how simple it is and how well it is done. The stitching feels strong and solid and the leather is soft to the touch.
This iPhone sleeve exudes simplicity. Made from a single piece of leather stitched to itself in two places, you really can’t get much more simple than that. And yet, Bison added a few aesthetic features that add so much to the personality of this product.
The sleeve (whiskey) is dyed to perfection. It comes out of the box in a beautiful whiskey amber color and then darkens with each day of use, getting more and more beautiful each day. This is complemented with light brown thread, which adds to the overall appeal as well.
The stitching is a huge aesthetic component to this sleeve. It is so delightfully simple. It is stitched in just two places, along the bottom and along the side. Nothing extra. There really is nothing else to this sleeve, which makes it so much better in my opinion. Nothing to distract you from it’s sole function, nothing to snag in your pocket as you carry it around, it’s just perfectly simple.
The branding on the back of the sleeve is absolutely fantastic. It is of a rearing bison preparing to charge. The simplicity and beauty of this logo really add a lot to this piece.
The iPhone 5 Wallet was actually designed with two functions — an iPhone sleeve combined with a minimal wallet. I personally have only used the iPhone sleeve function, but I love the idea that you can combine the two and simplify your life even more.
Basically, it’s what it sounds like. The iPhone (caseless) goes into the sleeve to protect it from your pocket. In that light, it really does it’s job well. The leather is thin enough to accommodate the iPhone without much added bulk and it’s slick enough to slide easily in and out of your pocket. The iPhone is easily slid into the sleeve and is securely held there until you remove it. The leather really adds a surprising amount of protection from encounters with gravity. More so than I would have expected, I’ll be honest. I dropped it out of my car the other day and all it did was add some character to the leather. Fantastic.
The attached wallet is a great idea. All it is is just a simple pocket found on the front of the sleeve, big enough for a few folded bills and a card or two. The simplicity that can be found in that is fantastic. Say you’re going for a run or something and you want to take some money to stop at the coffee shop on the way back, just stash a 5 in the pocket and you’re good to go. Or, if you’re like me and you spend all your money on espresso, stash a 5 in the front pocket for that one time that you run out of cash in your wallet and you really need that caffeine fix. Call it a rainy day fund of sorts.
Prior to this, I had an OtterBox, a Lifeproof, and one of the new Apple iPhone 5 cases. There is a trend here: thick, big, clunky. Not simple. Granted, I was moving in the right direction with the Apple case, but that really isn’t a quality case and wouldn’t do much if I dropped the phone.
Sleeves provide a great amount of protection and simplicity. Plus, you get to enjoy the feel of a naked iPhone. So, if you are in the market for a sleeve and you have an appreciation for style and simplicity, Bison makes a great option for you.
At $75, you’re really getting a lot for your money. Not only do you receive a quality product that feels and looks great, you receive a product that was fully American-sourced and built by hand.