You’d think that a black leather duffle bag couldn’t possibly be all that interesting, right? We’ve all seen them done in a thousand different ways by as many different brands, and at a certain point, they just all blur together. Imagine my pleasant surprise, then, when met one of the founders of American leather goods company Parabellum during New York Fashion Week in February and was genuinely impressed with the materials used, the level of workmanship, basically everything. While some large designers tend to cut corners on their cash-cow accessories lines in order to maximize their bottom lines, Parabellum is a small company looking to do everything the right way.
Bags like the Parabellum Medicine Man Duffle are made from bison skins sourced from American farms, which are then tanned, barrel-dyed and hand-cut at an undisclosed location (this is all very proprietary, naturally) in the Midwest with old school tools of the trade that the craftsmen have been using for decades. For bags that use copper hardware, each piece is hand-shaped and hand-finished by a metal worker. On the other hand, the black bag above uses handmade ceramic hardware (think the band of a Chanel J12 watch), which is so difficult to produce in these sizes and shapes that major European brands have tried to buy the process from Parabellum, who declined to sell. And that’s to say nothing of how gorgeous the leather is.
I’m a bit of a hard sell when it comes to textured leather, even natural texture; I tend to prefer mine soft and perfectly flat, like Chanel lambskin. In person, though, it’s obvious that this texture isn’t stamped or embossed, it’s a natural feature of the leather that the tanners were absolutely correct not to eradicate. The feel of the leather is also amazing; soft, but clearly strong. When I met with one of the owners, he showed me a new bag next to the one that he had been using for a year, and as with most leather goods that are manufactured with care, this bag gets better with age. If there’s a splurge-worthy weekender out there right now, this is it. Plus, you get the added benefit of not having the same bag as every other stylish dude you know. Buy through FarFetch for $2920, or check out the full line at ParabellumCollection.com.