Going Native with Maru the Circle Brand


A new camera means a new strap. It’s the law of the land. And since I posted about both Tap & Dye (glued to my X-T1) and Cecilia (ditto on my X-Pro1), I couldn’t go without mentioning this new addition from fellow Canadians, Ottawa-based Maru the Circle Brand.

I actually first heard of Maru on Twitter: someone mentioned them and after checking out their website, I saved it for future reference. Yes I know… Strap junkie here, no question (and bags… Mmm… Baaags…).

The brainchild of skateboarder/photographer Andrew Szeto, The company bills itself as a project-oriented brand and their site is a very interestingly eclectic mix of various collaborations with creatives from around the world. There’s a great vibe going on there and I was surprised I hadn’t found them while researching leather straps — although given the scope of what they do, it’s probably understandable; camera straps really feel more like an adjunct to many, many other things.

That said, they’re wonderful. 

This is the Custom Latigo model. In terms of approach and spirit, these are in the same vein as Tap & Dye: 3/8 inch wide, fixed-length (42 inches), no-nonsense, handmade leather strap with metal hardware — something I’m looking forward to seeing weather with time. Attaching it to the X100T immediately made the camera feel even more like an old friend, something I could’ve been carrying around for 25 years. I know there are more practical camera straps out there, things that slide in and out or provide all kinds of more efficient ways to wield your camera… But I’ll be using simple leather straps as long as I live. It somehow feels completely right to me, however old-fashioned or un-perfectly-ergonomic it may ultimately be.

Maru straps also offer something I haven’t seen elsewhere: custom engraving. Not as an add-on: STOCK. When you choose your model you’re given the possibility of adding a line of text to engrave on the side of it — your name, a quote or total nonsense if you feel like it. They can also engrave logos or create completely custom products on request. Here’s what I went with:

Words to live by?

I think it’s a nice touch that immediately makes the product that much more personal. The fact that it also came with a 4x6 print (depicting a hockey scene in rural Quebec no less) and a handwritten note, shows just how much care Andrew pours into this. The leather feels great, the hardware is top-notch, great crafstmanship all-around.

So how much? Well, that’s the clincher: $32. With engraving. THIRTY-TWO dollars. And CAD… Which is what? Two, three cents US these days? Sorry, had to. But seriously I just think this is an insane bargain. They’ve now added canvas/leather models and there’s apparently more photography-oriented apparel in the works. 

If you’re in the market for a new leather strap and this fits the bill, I can’t recommend these enough. For more info visit maruthecirclebrand.com
Now back to shooting…