So long, Benzein; hello, Briselblack!
A relatively young brand established in Bandung, Indonesia in 2018, Benzein quickly built a formidable reputation for itself amongst an ever-growing backdrop of Indonesian handmade bootmakers.
While offering a number of lace-up models, many enthusiasts primarily know Benzein for their superb laceless boots—including some of our favorite Chelsea boots available anywhere. With its sleek patterns, top-flight craftsmanship, and a wide array of leathers, Benzein most certainly established itself one of the finer makers in the bootmaking-mad nation.
So what’s going on here?? What’s changed? What’s staying the same?
We’ve got the details below.
What’s The Story Behind Briselblack? Wasn’t That A Separate Brand?
In the back half of 2022, Adi—the shoemaker who started and managed the Benzein brand—took a step back to launch Briselblack. This new brand gave Adi the opportunity to experiment with some different styles of his own design.
Perhaps the most intriguing model that Briselblack premiered was the Buck. At first glance you might notice it’s a rare lace-to-toe boot with blind eyelets…but then you realize it’s actually wholecut, where each boot is made of a single piece of leather. That’s pretty wild—we can’t recall seeing any other wholecut LTT boots out there. (Januar Dwi Juang, who finished second place in our inaugural Patina Thunderdome, is actually wearing a Briselblack Buck in our current contest and damn do they look handsome.)
In addition to the Buck, there’s also the Hawk—Briselblack’s sleek take on the classic boondocker—and the Kai—a jodhpur that has some subtle differences from the original Benzein counterpart. Adi built these new models on a modified version of Benzein’s Kapak last, dubbed the Ben01.
Wait So What Happened To Benzein Then?
While Adi had gone off to start Briselblack, he still retained a stake in Benzein, and continued to work for the brand in a part-time fashion. In spite of Adi’s continued involvement with Benzein, the brand’s primary investor was dissatisfied with the direction Benzein was headed in, and withdrew their support.
Adi has retained ownership of Benzein’s designs and lasts. But, since the primary investor had a personal connection to the Benzein name, they requested Adi stop using it. As a result, Adi decided to merge his new and old brands together into one, under the Briselblack name.
So Has Anything Major Changed Now, Aside From the Name?
Despite all of this being slightly confusing especially in terms of nomenclature, honestly not much has changed in terms of the product. Benzein—now Briselblack—will continue to offer the same styles, lasts, and quality materials found in the original Benzein catalog, alongside the new Briselblack models. Prices will also remain about the same, for now.
Where Does The Name Briselblack Come From, Anyway?
Adi explained to us that “Brisel” is an intentional misspelling of the verb “bristle.” In this case, it refers to standing up straight and rigid. “Black,” meanwhile, symbolizes strength and power. In sum, “Briselblack” means to stand up straight and strong.
How Do I Place An Order With Briselblack?
You can visit their website, where they’ve just opened up pre-orders for a batch of the Keeper Type 2 in black-overdyed Maryam horsebutt. Otherwise, hit them up on Instagram or Whatsapp to inquire about custom orders.