Insurrection/Thurston Brothers

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Insurrection/Thurston Brothers

"The Old-school Leather Shop You've Never Heard Of"

In the 1950s and '60s, it was common for a city to have a local leather store where motorcyclists could have riding gear made and repaired, but with very few exceptions that's no longer the case. So what's a rider to do when a crash damages a race suit, or when the seams on a beloved vintage Brimaco jacket start to come undone?

Tucked into a tiny storefront in Seattle's Greenwood neighborhood is Insurrection Apparel & Boots, one of the Northwest's best-kept motorcycling secrets. Owners Wade Bundy (above) and Carrie Van Dyke (below) specialize in vintage and reproduction leather jackets and custom racing suits, and vintage denim and cowboy boots, all curated with the passion of true enthusiasts.

"We get people who come in, and they're surprised that we're right around the corner," says Van Dyke. "They're like, 'You seem a lot bigger online.'"

But as demand for vintage and custom leathers increases, Insurrection's customer base has spread well beyond the Northwest. "We send a lot of jackets all over the world. If it fits, they keep it. Otherwise they send it back and we customize it."

The ability to offer on-site customization is what makes Insurrection so special. "We offer warranty service, wear and tear repairs, zippers, the works," says Van Dyke. She even sources period-correct zippers and leather, so repairs can be made using original materials.

For customers who fall in love with a particular vintage jacket but can't buy it immediately, Insurrection offers layaway. "It's the old-fashioned way to do things, but we believe that it's better to spend more money and get something that's really great."

Bundy and Van Dyke also recently opened Thurston Brothers, an online-only store featuring reproductions of heavyweight jackets from the 1930s—'50s, and their in-house brand, Pacific Cycle Leathers.

In addition to some of the best jackets around, Insurrection also offers custom racing suits. "We're the only folks who fit people using stock models, then modify the patterns to fit."

Both Bundy and Van Dyke are quick to point out their dedication to providing women the same exceptional service as men. Off-the-rack leathers are seldom proportioned correctly for women, and Van Dyke takes pride in her ability to offer custom fits. "There's nothing dumbed-down for the girls," she says, holding up a bright pink race suit custom-fitted for a 5' grandmother.

But providing such a high level of service takes time. "Because of walk-in customers, jobs that should take 15 minutes take all day." Van Dyke says that as their specialty work and online orders have grown, they've actually had to reduce retail hours. "You gotta have a life. You can't work 80 hours a week."

So what keeps them coming back for more? "We believe in leather. We're suckers for enduring materials, and leather ages like nothing else."

Story and photos by Levi Stroppel

Insurrection Apparel & Boots
8403-1/2 Greenwood Ave N, Seattle WA

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