January 4, 2012 | 11:10 am
(Updated: January 17, 2013 | 3:54 pm)
If you didn’t get ‘em at Sniagrab – or in your stocking (hey, you’ve been good) – then now is the time to shop for warm and stylish mittens. Sure, you can find sales galore now that the holidays are over, but why not treat yourself to something special? Even if you already have a favorite pair, it’s always a good idea to have a backup pair in your pack – whether you find yourself in a real emergency or in a not-so-imagined fashion emergency. In either case, we have to insist that you get your hands on a pair of Astis Mittens.
This locally based company, started by Bradford Peterson and Charlie Brown in 2010, currently offers 16 designs that are not only warm but also super stylish. The mittens, all with fur trim, are inspired by the leather and beadwork artistry of the Cree Indians. For instance, the beadwork designs are inspired by the natural world such as flowers, animals and weather. Even the name Astis is a Cree word for mittens.
“For 12 years, I had been skiing in a pair of mittens that one of my best friends had given me,” Peterson said. “He traded a Swiss Army Knife to a Cree Indian to make this pair of mittens. Then my sister’s dog ate them.” It was a terrible day for Peterson, but then Brown suggested that they make the mittens themselves.
The duo started digging into their new idea, and they found nothing on the market like what they envisioned.
They also heard from plenty of people who were dissatisfied with their boring black mittens and gloves. “We looked for different leather sources and manufactures until I thought it might actually make sense to give it a real try,” Peterson said. “I’m happy I did, as I love work now. We manufacture here in the United States, we keep people’s hands warm while adding unique style.”
Indeed, they have made a name for themselves. Astis Mittens recently customized a pair of mittens – the Astis/Icey Mittens – for the locally based ski company, Icelantic. “The partnership we struck with Icelantic has been excellent for us,” Peterson said. “One of my good friends is their head pro and team manager. I was chatting with him about how in some of the best ski shots, you can’t see what ski the person is on. I thought it would be great to work with them and put their logo in beadwork on the mittens.”
While Astis Mittens are based on Native American style, they feature current technology to fit today’s standards. The mittens also are lined with Polartec Thermal Pro High Loft, which provides incredible warmth.
“The original long-cuff style was designed with skiing in mind,” Peterson said. “There is nothing you have to cinch down, and you don’t have to hassle with pulling your jacket up and over your glove. We also received a lot of requests for small mittens (mostly from both of our moms at first), so we just launched a new style that has a shorter cuff. I don’t think they are as much for skiing, but they have been very popular.” l