Woven with purpose

Few of our products can boast as rich a history as our iconic Plaited ‘O’ Ring Belt. This refined and famously durable piece dates back to RM’s early days of craftsmanship when he worked tirelessly to develop pieces that could stand the test of time. Luckily for RM and the many thousands of wearers who have since enjoyed its timeless appeal, the belt stayed true to its creators promise and continues to endure in an ever-changing world.

In the context of global history, the art of leather plaiting is nothing new. This long-established craft - a natural evolution of ancient reed weaving - had been in existence for some centuries before one young Reginald Murray ‘RM’ Williams turned his hands to it in the 1930s. It was the discovery of kangaroo leather and its unmatched durability that revolutionised this skill for use in clothing and accessories and allowed our founder to master his craft with legendary quality and appreciation. His early explorations in kangaroo leather plaiting soon grew into a line of belts, whips and other purposeful accessories required for life in rural Australia.

The suppleness and sheer strength of kangaroo leather made our belts the perfect match for stockmen on long rides across the Australian outback, where the work was tough and opportunities to repair or replace products were scarce. These trusted items could be relied upon to hold strong against the unforgiving conditions of the bush and even look good whilst at it. Before long, the refined, plaited design that RM had devised was no longer just a symbol of endurance, it was a symbol of outback style.

These legendary belts still exist in our collection today, having strayed little from the designs and processes that RM himself established and passed to his inaugural team of artisans. A lucky few of our current craftspeople were even tutored by the man himself, whilst others have sought advice and guidance from the leather plaiting chapters of his seminal handbook ‘The Bushman’s Handcrafts’, recently rereleased in honour of our 90th Anniversary year.

Each belt begins with a set of pre-stretched kangaroo leather strands, plaited by hand into a uniformed strap and finished with a sturdy set of ‘O’ ring buckles. Before leaving the hallowed halls of our Adelaide workshop, each must pass a comprehensive quality check, to ensure that it meets the standards of excellence R.M.Williams is renowned for. Whether worn as a stylish accessory or as a purposeful emblem of Australian craftsmanship, the Plaited ‘O’ Ring Belt’s timeless appeal is worth celebrating.

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