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Finding a new soft spot for your iPhone. By Valery Joseph


workingclassherosopenThose ubiquitous white earbuds speak to that special place Apple has carved in our modern-day lives. Hence, it's no surprise that a cottage industry would emerge strictly to protect the urbanite's most precious commodities.

The latest streamlined sleeve to enter the competition (and our current favorite) comes courtesy of the Austrian duo behind the label Working Class Heroes. "We began the company out of a vision to create something new, original, and worlds away from the plastic and neoprene offerings typically found in this market," founder James Teal says. "We were inspired by the past, when handcrafted items were almost an everyday commodity."

Along with his partner Monie.Ka, Teal crafts each of his tactile felt cases out of their studio in the Viennese countryside. Fashioned from 100% wool felt and premium aniline leather, these iPhone/iPod Touch cases have a bespoke quality, a theme that carries through in the line's current distribution: an online shop on do-it-yourself web giant Etsy. In addition to MP3 cases, Working Class Heroes also creates laptop "wallets," eyewear cases, and moleskine pouches, all created in the same made-to-order manner.

As for the functionality of this new softie, Teal vouches for its durability with a nod to his local history. "Felt is the oldest fabric known to humankind…Austrian men have been wearing felt for centuries, and it's still worn today." You heard it here first.


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Working Class Heroes iPhone/iPod Touch pouch, about $50, available online at Working Class Heroes and at Etsy

Finding a new soft spot for your iPhone.