February 18, 2014 by Ville Raivio
Europe has a grand share of talented glove makers with the usual quality suspects in England, Germany and Italy. Established names and factories know their stuff but the end price usually rises to triple digits, more so with anything made to order, and here is where alternative countries become appealing. Hungary and Poland haven’t abandoned artisanal glove making, though few products in highfalutin men’s stores mention these nations in the Made in…tag. There’s precious few webstores offering a special order route, even less of those with the patience to serve individual clients looking for that impersonal digital bespoke feeling. I first discovered Paularun while hunting for peccary gloves on eBay sometime in 2011, back when they traded under the name Iliari. The price was right and the hand-sewn gloves looked promising. After a few weeks, I received their smallest size, a pair of great gloves too large for my concert pianist hands. Some months after this, I discovered the company had set up a new webstore.
Apart from off-the-peg sizes and models, Paularun offers bespoke gloves in 22 shades of peccary leather with the option of alpaca linings in many colours. Women have plenty of selection, the men’s range is limited. Looking for that glove-like fit, I scanned my hands on an A4 paper and sent an email order to Peru. Mind you, this was before the company had decided to place an advertisement on Keikari. I paid no more than the RTW price for the gloves made to my measurements and requirements. A few weeks later I received dark purple gloves with dark purple lining, and light-brown gloves with black lining. The fit was nice, the peccary baby bum soft.
The gloves are made in the town of Arequipa, where artisans work at home with peccary hides, needle, thread, patterns and lining. Trade in peccary leather is overseen by CITES regulation, so leather exported from South America to European tanneries becomes precious raw material. Meanwhile in Peru, wages, tanning and hides are cheaper. The example pair is longer than my previous peccary gloves from the Finnish merchant, Sakari Sauso, so the gloves will protect the wrist better. Hand-sewn seams are as clean, even and tight, with the added bonus of glove-like fit and pleasant alpaca lining. The fit on the first pair is not perfect, but this has been reached with subsequent orders. Continuing the comparison to Sauso’s gloves, the leather Paularun uses is softer, with a smaller grain. The cost was $130 including shipping. So far Paularun’s bespoke gloves offer the best price-quality glove deal I’ve found, though time will tell how the leather ages or how the lining lasts.