El Gato Montes was established in 2014.

At Gato Montes we create unique handcrafted wearable art predominantly in the medium of leather, with some metal and stone work.  Each piece we create is completely handmade and has a story, beginning with painstaking design work, stone selection, material acquisition and the actual creation of each piece. All of our goods are created by our own hands; currently 5 of us. We as a collective seek to end the mass consumerism of the global marketplace by creating beautiful, ancestral works of art that are built to last into the next generation. Ethics: What you are supporting...

We are sticklers for quality and sustainability; all of our leather is sourced from free-range cows.  We also try to buy as much up-cycled leather as possible, constantly scouring various upholstery shops, visiting up-cycle stores as well as forming connections with shoemakers in order to purchase their scraps.  Our hardware is made from solid brass produced and made locally (many companies buy mass-produced hardware from China filled with harmful nickel).  Our workshops are (as a rule) free of plastics

We are committed to sourcing as many locally produced materials as possible, thus minimizing the effects of transportation, as well as stimulating our local economies.  Currently, all of our leather is sourced from local free-range farms, as well as tanned locally; our hardware is also manufactured locally.  We stress the necessity for local procurement of materials as a necessity to combat the environmental infractions perpetrated by inter-global trade and manufacturing.

Meet the Artist: Santiago 

Santiago is an avid traveler, tinkerer, and shit talker. He began his leather journey working 10 years ago in Latin America and takes his inspiration from his years of travel and creating art. Santiago expanded his passion and craftsmanship to his second venture, Rogue Van Company, building one of a kind custom sprinter vans. In 2019 his partner, Jamie, joined forces with Gato himself and together they helped to co-create their San Diego storefront, The Gold Dust Collective. 

El Gato Montes is a frequent pop-up store at some of your favorite festivals! For years our shop has traveled all across North America, from New York, California, Oregon, Colorado and Costa Rica vending at various events. (The soul of your boots have traveled thousands of miles before you even get a chance to break them in!) Due to the CoronaVirus many of our normal yearly events have been Postponed or canceled.  In light of the changing political, socioeconomic and regulatory climate in the US, we will not be updating our event calendar until it is clear if larger events will be allowed. 

~Know that we miss seeing you there~

Feel free to reach out to us for any questions, comments, or concerns

E-mail us directly at -

Or fill out the form at the bottom of the page. 

See us in person at our San Diego Storefront

The Gold Dust Collective

3824 Ray Street

San Diego, CA 92104