The Inspiration: James Crowe
Last year, our buddy Bentley was searching for the ultimate workhorse motorcycle. He wanted a bike that was equal parts daily driver and adventure mobile. After weeks of research, Bentley had developed a borderline obsession with a Mr. James Crowe and his custom BMW Camper Special.
A few months later, Bentley dropped by the Taylor Stitch office to catch up. Before sitting down to talk shop, he spotted the old leather jacket hanging from our sample rack. “What’s that?” he asked. We explained the jacket’s story, our plan to recreate it, and shared a few ideas for a full moto collection. Bentley responded, “You need to team up with James Crowe.”
James is a bad ass custom motorbike builder based in Whistler and has a shop called Crowe Metal Co. He's half of West America, a space on the internet where James and Jordan Hufnagel chronicle their two wheeled adventures. He uses the words “utilitarian” and “overbuilt” frequently. A few years ago, James and his friend Jordan Hufnagel hand built a couple of Honda XR600Rs and rode full-bore from Whistler to Tierra Del Fuego, South America’s southern most point. James is, for lack of a better phrase, our kinda guy.
Bentley put us in touch with James so we could ask for guidance on the Moto Collection and we wanted to . What would he need from the clothes? What would he like to see? James answered “utilitarian and overbuilt”. Go figure. As we spoke more, James delivered some really solid insight, like how a true cap toe boot (utilizing two pieces of leather) would better withstand the rigor of shifting. We asked James if he’d be interested in modeling the collection and field test garments in his backyard. Fortunately, he agreed and his backyard just happens to be Whistler, British Columbia. One of most serene places in the world. He told us not to worry about any gear, he had more than enough of everything and invited us up north with open arms.
Our photographer Mikey hopped a plane to Whistler to hang with James and his wife Amanda. They spent the weekend riding dirt bikes to the top of a mountain, canoeing through glacier-fed lakes, and converting a ’53 GMC into what James is casually calling the 'truck house.' All the while, Mikey aggressively snapped photos. Upon his return, Mikey’s official debrief consisted of “I’m stoked and James is epic.” But did he like the clothes? Did you get good pictures? “Hell yeah.”
Mikey’s brevity aside, we learned that James is a man fiercely dedicated to his craft, but who desires much more than that. He put it best while chatting in his yard on Sunday afternoon, "we're focusing on finding the balance between work, travel and family. staying inspired with the jobs we do and sacrificing the little things in life for the bigger picture and longterm fulfillment." (I brought this back in as it is a direct quote that he actually wrote me and I don't want to change his words. I think he is a principled fella like that). At Taylor Stitch, we’re always searching for that balance too. We design our clothes to work with you, whether it be in the shop, at the office, or on the trail. We hope our dedication to the craft is evident in this collection and we hope to never lose sight of the big picture.
A big thank you to James and Amanda for giving us a glimpse into their incredible life and for allowing us to join them on what we sure hope is just the beginning of many great adventures we can take part in.