As I was revisiting Mitch’s interview, I found myself melting over the story of his days in college, working to win over “the most beautiful girl in the world.” With the money that he made selling African beads on campus, Mitch rented a gold lamé jumpsuit and red leather three-inch heels, took his guitar in hand, and went to serenade her at her home. The only problem was no one was home. Today, Mitch’s style is almost the exact opposite of the flashy, glam rock look he sported back in those days. With a passion for the raw and natural, his style is much closer to a flea-market-scouring Keith Richards. Mitch is an avid collector of perfectly worn hides, from baseballs to western saddles and everything in between. If he can’t find one, he’ll make it himself. In fact, Mitch’s career is dedicated to making leather “look like it has been out in the fields… very natural looking and honest to the skin.” He is the founder of Libra Leather, a company that was highly influential in the popularization of distressed leather mania and is a supplier to some of the world’s most influential fashion designers, including Chrome Hearts, Rick Owens and Henry Lehr, among others. In what he describes as his most formal outfit, Mitch certainly doesn’t need to serenade me to win me over with his charm. The outfit alone is an impeccable and edgy combination of a Galliano glitter tuxedo jacket, a cropped white Prada button-down, black, embroidered leather pants of his own design and lots of Chrome Hearts accessories that include a top hat, chunky silver jewelry and a belt. Despite the cool, Easy Rider-inspired appearance of his headscarves and Rick Owens muscle tees, the innocence and charm of the college jock in his chinos still remains. Material things and success do matter to Mitch, but for him they pale in comparison to the “honest and pure” experience of being with his kids. Genuine and bonafide could be Mitch’s middle names. Just take a look at the endless bottles of cologne he has lined up on his desk, the abundance of fringed American Indian bags hanging in his closet, or the fact that he would rather travel to small villages and towns to stomp grapes with winemakers than spend time in any big European city. He says of the rural experience: “I love to see how they wear their aprons, how they age, how they step on [the grapes] and how [the juice] goes through their fingers. I simply gravitate towards these people. I guess I look a little different than they do and they are staring at me and I am staring at them and we feed off of each other.”
P.S.: With this kind of sincerity and sensitivity to life, maybe someone reading this can help Mitch out with one of his lifelong goals. He would like to get over his abandonment issues and find a life long partner who appreciates him for who he is. He says that he is at the peak of his decline, so there’s still time. You would no doubt end up with some killer leather pants and a possible carol at your window.