You’ve visited the bars, you’ve drunk the drinks, you’ve read the cocktail books and bought the t-shirts. Now it’s time to wear the boots.
But as co-owner of Death & Co, Alex Day points out though, this is no ordinary collaboration. “My brother, Brad Day (CEO at HELM), seeded the idea of a collaboration over years of family gatherings, in what I suspected was purely a way to get Dave (Kaplan) and I to stop exclusively wearing Vans.”
Although some work had already begun on the venture, it was not until March 15th of this year, the day the group had to close their bars due to the pandemic, that the work really began.
“In those early, chaotic and nerve-wracking days, we were lucky to have so many people reach out and lend their support,” said Alex Day. “Brad would call me every day to check-in and ask how he could help. We revived the idea of a Death & Co x HELM boot, got our teams involved, and have spent the last six months plotting for this launch.
“We’re collectively so proud of the results,” he continued, “but personally, it’s also been a wonderful way to work with my brother on a project while we’ve been separated by thousands of miles – there’s a whole lot of family love in every pair of these boots.”
Looking to engage with their fans and customers in a unique and meaningful way, the brands have created two styles of boot. The first style, The Cole in Death & Co Black ($US225), is a durable, all-black high-top leather sneaker with reinforced sidewall construction, an all-black cup sole and silver hardware detailing.
The second style, The Ryder in Death & Co Black ($US350) is an all-black leather boot, featuring a padded tongue and cushioned insole for maximum boot comfort. Equal parts slim and sturdy, the Ryder boot is also fully resole-able for a customized look to last for years.
“We greatly admire craftspeople of any variety,” continued Day. “We knew going into this collaboration that we wanted to respect the expertise and wisdom of the Helm team while bringing our own perspective – both for working bartenders and the lifestyle that surrounds the cocktail culture.”
Originally the brands had planned to only release one boot, but as Alex Day explained, due to the diverse nature of the cocktail world, it soon became clear that two unique boots were needed. For working on shift, the durability and tractability of a rubber sole offered by the Cole was ideal, while the elegant, more tradition boot style of the Ryder was perfect for serving or a night out on the town.
“We were drawn to working with HELM because of their commitment to quality and emphasis on craft, both of which we pursue within Death & Co,” added Death & Co co-owner David Kaplan. “This the first collaboration we’ve done of this kind, and as such it’s incredibly important that our partners operate with shared values and a passion for details.”
Seeing the collaboration as an honest reflection of both companies collective interests, Kaplan went on to joke that most of the Death & Co team already wear the boots for their durability and comfort.
As a sign of the values that both HELM and Death & Co share, both company’s have sought to provide charitable support through this collaboration.
For every sale of the Cole or Ryder in Death & Co Black, 5% will be donated to CORE (Children of Restaurant Employees), an organization dedicated to supporting food and beverage service employees, with children, who have been medically diagnosed with COVID-19.
“I hope that collaborations like this continue. Cocktail culture has grown into a lifestyle and I think there’s a lot of opportunity for creative collaborations and products to come to life in this space” added Day.
The two premium boot offerings will feature special edition packaging in the signature black Death & Co aesthetic, along with recipes for original Death & Co cocktails.
HELM sneakers and boots are made of Balthazar leather developed by B Leather Company, a third-generation family-owned tannery in Santiago Dominican Republic since 1940, where, in addition to crafting fine leathers, the family has been distilling rum for over 160 years.