Couch Guitar Straps founder Daniel Perkins started making his own guitar straps in the late Nineties—basically because he couldn’t find a strap that was worthy of his new ax at the time, a Fender Telecaster.
“I realized the music industry was different than the fashion industry in that it was great at instrument design, but in terms of accessories, they weren’t cutting it or putting any real creative resources into the straps segment,” Perkins says. “So, just wanting one for myself, I embarked on the journey of designing and manufacturing straps.”
Perkins actually moved out of his Long Beach, California, apartment and slept on his friend’s couch (which is how the company got its name) so he could save enough cash to buy a sewing machine and get started. Since then, Couch has been making—by hand, in Southern California—some of the most durable, stylish and affordable guitar straps, belts, wallets and camera straps known to mankind. But what really sets them apart is the fact that everything the company makes is 100 percent vegan and cruelty free. As the company’s website puts it, “The buying and selling of animal skin carcasses was a little too weird for us, thanks.”
Instead of dead animals, some of the company’s most popular straps are made from deadstock—vintage material that was originally manufactured for a completely different purpose; in Couch’s case, we’re talking about some truly alluring vinyl and cloth upholstery that was supposed to grace someone’s old Cadillac, Volkswagen, Ford or Mercedes-Benz.
“I walked into an upholstery supply shop as we were starting the company, and I thought, ‘Everything we’d ever need to make every kind of strap is right here.’ We can sometimes be most creative when limitations are imposed on us, allowing us to focus. Otherwise we can be overwhelmed with too many options. It’s like an art school assignment—paint using only one color or write a song in 3/4 or 7/8. Narrowing the focus opens up the possibilities.”
Couch makes straps out of other vintage, recycled materials—but the finished products all seem to fit into the same universe in terms of colors and references. “Our design influences include mid-century color palettes, Pan Am travel bags of the Sixties, bowling ball bags of the Sixties and Seventies, Adidas striped joggers, Samsonite shoulder bags from the Seventies, vintage Winnebago motor homes and, obviously, the vintage cars, Le Mans racing stripes and upholstery that a lot of our materials come from.”
For more information, check out couchguitarstraps.com.