Walking & Talking with Ginew to Ponytail Falls
Photos & Words by Justin "Scrappers" Morrison
The corn bread was dark blue like indigo denim. The corn was personally picked up from the Colorado mill it was made at and brought to this Portland kitchen to bake and eat with friends and family. Erik & Amanda’s brand Ginew is a lot like that cornbread; locally & personally sourced ingredients, intentionally made well, fulfilling, and tasty.
A buffalo skull hangs in their living room. It’s from their wedding in Wisconsin. “We ate that buffalo” Erik tells me as Amanda describes the traditional wild rice and other dishes they made. Their wedding buffalo did more than feed their friends and family though, it helped launch their brand by providing the leather they made their first line of belts from.
Once the hide was prepared, tanned, and hand dried, Erik took it to a leather workshop. “You’re making real buffalo belts? I’ll give you $200 for one right now”, said a guy passing through. And with that a business was born.
Since Ginew’s beginning in 2010 their line has grown beyond leather belts. Their jackets and vests are American made of wax canvas, selvedge denim, and Pendleton wool. Each piece has a strong story holding it up. The rider jacket I wear pays respect to Amanda’s grandfather who commuted weekly from the Mohican reservation to weld for Harley Davidson during the 1950's and 1960's.
Erik is Minnesota Chippewa. Amanda is Oneida & Stockbridge-Munsee. The oak leaf in their brand’s logo is from the tree they were married under. Their cultural heritage influences everything they do. Maybe that’s why the goods Ginew makes are made so well?
Before leaving for work today I told my son that someday he will inherit my jacket. Right then I understood it was built for generations.