fashion for the pansexual lifestyle
Second generation kink is what it's all about at NORTHBOUND
LEATHER, which began as a small leather goods business in Greece over
twenty years ago, and has turned into something much more for founder
John Giaouris and his son George, current head of operations. George was
actually born right above the family shop. When asked where the
inspiration comes from George says, "our primary design directions have
come from the the bedchambers of whimsical perverts."
The year was 1968 and the political atmosphere in Greece was
tumultuous and repressive, so the family moved to Toronto, Canada, to
begin over again. They started a small company dealing in shoe repair and
shoe manufacturing. The shop was in the heart of a "gay ghetto" in Toronto.
As Galaxy Leather became known to the community interesting requests
came in for new items and operating on a "you name it & we'll make it
basis" the line began to include many pervy items.
John and George have always had an open employment policy
welcoming people of all persuasions, and the influence of their alternative
lifestyles began to be reflected in the designs and items they made and
sold. As the scene evolved simple, straight S&M designs were
complemented by more fashionable fetish styles. Once the employees,
neighbors, and customers noticed the exceptional quality of the leather and
the exquisite attention to detail, the community required a little more of
John and George; they asked for custom work with flair. It was now the
mid-70s and it was not enough to be seen, one had to be remembered.
What better way to do it, than to demand something a little different,
something a little exotic. What was once just a shoe manufacturing
company, with 6 stores across Canada, and 1 in Chicago, became
NORTHBOUND LEATHER in 1987, with a tongue in cheek subtle nod to the
Canadian location and pervy inventory. George's vital and creative force
turned the tried and true into innovative products for imaginative minds.
Shoes turned into fetish footwear, pants turned into chaps, shorts turned
into G-strings, and hats became hoods.
Products once relegated to the back wall took their place in a higher
echelon of display. What were once accoutrements displayed in one dark
corner became the energizing force and basis of the company. The clothes
and toys became immensely popular, for customers could find everything
they needed from biker to bondage, the quality was always divine, and the
styling always original.
It's always been a policy for John and George Giaouris to give back to
the community that has given so much to them. Having been dispossessed
once by a right wing group, they know how the freedoms that one takes
for granted, can be usurped in the blink of an eye. They have always
believed in promoting and protecting the pansexual lifestyle that makes up
not just their business, but their philosophy. Over the years they have
hosted many parties and charity events for gay and civil liberties causes.
Once considered a fringe community, with unusual fashions, George
reveals how NORTHBOUND LEATHER has captured the look that everyone
wants to emulate, "To be on the cutting edge takes both craftsmanship and
"Latex is the new fabric of couture, George says emphatically when
asked to see the next trend. "The fringe always becomes the mainstream
and the underground continues to bubble to the surface. Couture designers
and the chain stores will continue to hop on our bandwagon, but will never
catch up, becuase we are always one step ahead!"
MAKERS OF FINE FASHION/FETISH WEAR
19 ST. NICHOLAS STREET, TORONTO, ONTARIO, CANADA M4Y 1W5.
phone 416 972 1037
fax 416 975-1337
internet * http://www.northbound.com
Their new catalog, deluxe three book set, featuring
wear, and toys, contains over 400 exciting images to feast your eyes upon.
Design: Mark Olson