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The Story Behind the Messenger Bag

Our Messenger Bag may look minimal in design aesthetic, but each detail was carefully thought out and planned. Every feature and material used is intentional. We wanted to build the perfect messenger, one that balances structured minimal design aesthetic with modern functionality, using materials second to none. 

The overall design of the Messenger was inspired by vintage leather army bags from the 1940’s. We incorporated many of the design queues and structures from that era but built our Messenger to be a slightly modern interpretation. So it’s not a replica, but it is heavily inspired by that era. 

The Specific Type of Leather Used

Weight & Thickness

For general details and lot’s of good information about our leather, click here. But the purpose of this page is to be a little more granular. 

For the Messenger, we use varying weights (thicknesses) of leather depending on the part & function. For example, main panels use 6-7oz. leather, while straps use 9-10oz. We wanted a structured look and needed it to hold its shape and stand up when set on the ground. But we didn’t want the bag to be unnecessarily heavy - so these leather weights accomplish that. 

When you pick up this bag, you’ll instantly know you’re holding something unique. It doesn’t feel flimsy like most mass-market bags. It's built like a tank, yet it’s not heavy. It feels substantial, like something that will last a long time.

Finish

The finish of our leather for this bag has three elements.

First, the front side of the leather is our pure full grain vegetable tanned leather. When the tannery makes this leather, it is “stuffed” with oils that help give it its color and richness. This oil also provides a certain level of water resistance. But it’s not “oily” to the touch.

Second, the backside of our leather is refinished. This is a very important step and one of the things that makes our bag so unique. Refinishing refers to the art of staining and texturizing the backside of a leather hide after it has been split or cut to the desired thickness.

(Note, we do NOT split from the top side, only from the bottom side. So the leather is not weakened at all; it is just a sizing adjustment. In fact, nearly all leather is split this way at some point because an un-split hide can be 13 oz. or more, making it way too thick for any normal uses.)

The reason our refinishing process is so important is because it allows us to have a premium quality unlined bag. If you don’t refinish the backside, you’ll end up with a flaky suede that will leave little particles everywhere. The refinished backside of the leather provides excellent long-term durability and a clean aesthetic. It's that extra step that makes it just that much better. 

Third, the edges of our bag are finished with edge paint, giving a clean long lasting edge that looks natural. 

Colors

Personally, I love our Saddle Tan and Vintage Brown colors. They look quite rich and have tremendous character. There is some color variation throughout the hide on these colors, which makes it very interesting. It’s almost a slight marbling and is even more beautiful in person. I have had entire groups of people come up to me in public simply because they were in awe of this leather. They want to know where I got it and how they can get some. Men, women, people of all stripes can appreciate this leather.

The Saddle Tan is a dark tan color. From some angles it can look almost caramel or cognac colored. It can also look like the light brown color of an old horse saddle. 

The Vintage Brown color is a darker shade of brown but it’s not “super dark” brown. It’s got a more vintage look to it. If you’ve ever seen a 75 year old leather bag, you’ll know what I mean. Our Vintage Brown color also has a slight hint of burgundy to it. To be clear, it is not burgundy and it is not red in any way. But there’s just enough of a hint of burgundy to the brown to give it a unique and rich color that looks really amazing in person.

Hardware

Our hardware is solid antique brass, which is more of a matte finish and consistent with the look of a vintage bag. Most of the mass-market bags today use shiny zinc hardware, which can appear cheap and gaudy.

The front strap is a simple easy-access stud closure. There are no cheap or fake closures that will break. Our shoulder strap uses a buckle just like a belt. I prefer this to the sliders that are common in the mass-market bags. It seems like the sliders always slide when they’re not supposed to. With our buckle, you can set it and forget it. This bag is designed to be carried primarily on the shoulder or cross-body, but we also included a grab handle on the back for quick grabs. 

Thread

We use heavy gauge bonded Nylon thread. This thread is so strong, they used to use similar threads in parachutes during WWII. The thread we use is stronger than the cotton and polyester thread used in most other bags. And we went with a heavier gauge than necessary for added durability and aesthetic. Our master leather crafters who make our bags also use the best stitching and finishing techniques to ensure that the thread won’t fray and unravel.

Features

Despite its fairly minimal design, this Messenger Bag is actually packed with some very useful features. Here’s a list of some of the key features:

  • Designed primarily for shoulder or cross-body carry. 
  • Includes a grab handle on the back for quick grabs.
  • The vertical securing strap is cut from the strongest part of the hide to reduce stretching over time and provide extra strength for one of the most used parts of the bag.
  • We chose a simple solid antique brass stud closure for quick and easy access.
  • The backside features a full length slip pocket.
  • The shoulder strap pad is double layered for extra comfort.
  • Inside features a secure-fitting divider panel for your laptop. We intentionally didn’t include a securing strap. It would have been unnecessary and just another obstacle to getting your laptop.
  • The divider panel is secured to the back panel of the bag; this leaves a nice large main compartment available.
  • The phone, pen and business card pockets are all conveniently located near the top of the bag for easy access.

There was a lot of attention to detail that went into developing this Messenger Bag. And while it has the look of a classic Messenger, its features are versatile enough to use it as a laptop bag or satchel.

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