You know what was missing from the Oscars? Belts. Yea, friggin’ belts. Fashion Week in NYC? I didn’t see any designer dog collars.  (No dogs either. Who does that?)  And you know what? As far as Jason Wu is concerned, he may be in Michelle O’s pocket, but he ain’t nothing until he can show me some leather bracelet cuffs. …Enter Jon Wye. : ) 

A rarity here in the DC artist community is someone who actually grew up here, left here, came back here, and is a success here today. (…shit, in this economy, that’s anywhere these days) A lot of people see the allure of the bright lights of NYC and say, peaceout!DC, I’m gonna make it big!… and fizzle out faster than the Jonas Brothers. (There’s still time this week… wait, they released ANOTHER album??!! dammit.) But Jon Wye is different. Raised in SE, on Cap Hill, Jon left DC to go to school, but came back, and when he did, he realized that this city was generating a buzz, that he hadn’t seen before. He saw that amongst the 20-somethings-staffers, were indeed real people and young adults who were looking to put their city on a map. Jon saw these people as targets for his wares, and went out to bring his works of art to the masses. 

Wye conceptualizes the design of everything, then employs local artists to put the pen to paper, er, leather. But the best part about what Jon Wye does, is that everything, EVERYTHING, is done in DC, by hand – by HIS hands, in the studio down on Independence Ave. I’ve been there and trust me, he’s got apparently most of any machinery that’s ever been made, this side of a steel mill, and while he’s got friends, and dogs, and interns, and girlfriend, and relatives helping, it’s all Jon – it’s all original – and it’s all done here in town. Jon Wye is a true district creative. 

So do your best, new-Ed-Hardy-shop-on-Wisconsin-Ave-where-District-Line-used-to-be. And the new (to me) Juicy Coture store on M. St. in Georgetown, take your best shot. But if you’re looking for original, handcrafted, homegrown wearable art – go to Jon Wye. -kk

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