Studio Visit: Great State Strap Co.

Gary Tyler Mcleod is a videographer and photographer who set out to create the ideal camera strap. Almost two years ago, with little experience in leather design, Gary decided to start a leather camera strap company. He was determined to make a product that was designed like no other on the market and with plenty of trial and error he succeeded. Mcleod’s hard work has lead to a well-designed utilitarian line of camera straps, Great State Camerawear that come in array of designs and colors. Weather you just rock a point and shoot (the wrist strap is perfect for that) or are a more serious photographer, there is a strap for you – there are varying attachments and widths of leather to fit everyones needs. All of the leather is cut, dyed, edged and tooled with design and utility in mind.  


1. Why Portland? What was it that drew you to Portland or has kept you here?

It's an efficient place to make things happen. There are a lot of smart and interesting people. When I have an idea, it's easy to build momentum and there are often helpful resources available. Also, I'm excited for the Chopsticks II Extension. (

2. How did your brand start?

I grew up always building different things with my mother, who is really creative. She was into architecture and historical preservation. I got used to making things, and the satisfaction of doing it well. As I got into filmmaking and photography, I missed the building process. I made a camera strap one day, and made it just how I wanted it because I hadn't found any others like what I wanted. I also wanted to get back into making tangible, functional items, so I started a website to sell them. Designing them is a nice escape from doing less immediate, more conceptual art making, like film.

3. What has been your biggest obstacle?

I started the company with the plan of putting the products first, which isn't very common. So, the hardest part is designing and making them great, but that's why I started the company so I enjoy it. I like that they are extremely well made and could not be outsourced to factories in free trade zone third world countries even if I wanted to. The biggest obstacle is doing everything else at the same time, in addition to my filmmaking work.

4. What or who inspires your design?

That's always changing, with a ever lingering admiration for Bill Cunningham's approach. (the photographer himself, not the people in his photos).

5. Favorite place to shop in Portland?

W.C. Winks Hardware. Seriously backing this place.

6. What will be your major fall investment this year?

I'm not much for the stock market. I plan to invest a lot of time into ideas.

7. What is your fall must have?

Gray clouds and cooling temps. My fav.

8. How do you choose what you wear in the morning?

Put on the black jeans I wore the day before then choose the rest based on my plans for the day and self-esteem. If my plans aren't known, I go with black boots so I'm ready for anything.