be·spoke [ bi-ˈspōk ] – made to order: made to a customer’s specifications
Half-British. Half-Iranian. All Canadian. Andrew Diba is a British Columbian luxury bespoke leather designer who will personally meet with each of his customers to create any design that both he and the customer would be proud to own. No kits, instruction manual, or YouTube videos here – Andrew Diba has spent over five years in self-motivated learning through his own trial and error, an apprenticeship with a Budapest shoemaker, and designing and producing his own goods for house brands. To break through the limitations of price point and quantity, he has more recently branched out on his own, creating Neo Nouveau by Andrew Diba to focus on the essentials of crafting instead of business.
The Geometric Wallet is one of Andrew Diba’s flagship innovative designs. The design incorporates more pocket space while keeping it slim and interesting. This particular custom wallet is made with only two pieces from a single pristine high-grade juvenile American alligator skin chrome-tanned in Italy. The cutting of the skin is thoughtfully designed to maximize scale placement. The inner triangle is cut out from the (eh-hem) genital area where the scales coalesce into smaller rings for an attractive viewing window. There is lining even in the hidden slots, made from Australian kangaroo tanned in Italy and for good reason. Kangaroo provides the strongest leather for any given thickness, insuring lifelong durability and hold to the wallet’s shape. The inner leather is a terracotta vegetable-tanned Sokoto goatskin from Nigeria using unique tanning agents from the Bagaruwa tree (a.k.a. Acacia Arabica) which is then tanned again in the UK with Sumac. All imported exotic skins are sustainable leather sources and CITES-labelled and approved.
Everything at Neo Nouveau is 100% hand-stitched to 10 stitches/inch by Andrew Diba with traditional saddle-making techniques and French linen threads. Because exotic leathers are frequently chrome-tanned, the edges cannot simply be burnished. This particular finish is hand-sanded and melted, re-sanded, and repeated several times using special French waxy edge paint with a six-month shelf-life. After six months, even if only a drop has been used, the rest is thrown away. No cutting corners here. This extra effort to find the optimal edge paint is to maximize the range of available colors while providing much more durability and water resistance. Finishing can take up to several days but the waxy edge doesn’t have the typical unnatural or plastic look and is much less likely to separate at folded edges due to increased wear.
For final confirmation and quality control, Andrew Diba e-mails multiple photographs of the custom item prior to any shipment to guarantee a satisfied customer. If it isn’t right, it’s thrown away.
The sheer amount of details and construction of this particular wallet makes it so that it no longer functions as a wallet. Instead, it is a showpiece. I can’t bring myself to stuff too many things into it for fear of ruining its stunningly fluid look. Should I stuff an old Costco receipt and my five coffee stamp cards into it? Probably not. Will it hold everything if I wanted to? Of course. The wallet is thin enough to fit comfortably into both back and front pockets and the alligator is surprisingly soft and light. The leathers are expected to self-condition with oils from the hands which is good since you will find yourself not wanting to let go of this wallet. Andrew Diba recommends Saphir Reptan conditioner for all his exotic skins.
Text doesn’t do this wallet justice. It is beautiful, well-crafted, and screams luxury. Why waste time on describing the wallet when I can just post photos. The best part? No eyesore of a brand or label. It is better matched for formal or chic apparel but with something at this level you can wear it with anything and no one will dare criticize you.
The Neo Nouveau by Andrew Diba Geometric Wallet is a standout leather creation. At $605 with free international shipping for this combination of materials, you get a personally constructed heirloom quality product without breaking the bank. This is a bespoke good and as such, the entire construction can be customized online or in person, from color of edging and stitching to leather combinations ranging from Horween to shark. It may be an ambitious investment for some people, but once you have one in your hands, you won’t regret it.