As someone who travels a lot, from day trips to month long adventures into South American and Asia, I need a lot of different bag options.
Recently though, I’ve been doing a lot more 1-2 night trips up to New York from Philadelphia, or into Paris from London. I have some really nice Briggs & Riley carry-on suitcases, but I wanted something a little more chic (although I do think the Briggs & Riley bags are by far the best in class).
I imagined a large weekender with a Dr’s bags opening style for easy access, in thick high-quality British belting leather. My resulting search on Google and all the other “usual place” resulted in blanks. All the bags were either too small, were not the design I had in mind or didn’t look of high enough quality to withstand years of use.
Thus, as a man who’s not shy of going custom (most of the time out of need, due to my odd and large proportions), I thought why not see if I can get something custom made!
What I Wanted / Needed – The Custom Design Process
The need was primarily LARGE! As a guys who is 6′ 4″ tall and has size 14 wide feet, it can be hard to get a weekender bag that is actually big enough for a weekends worth of clothes and shoes!
Thus I wanted to see if I could find a custom made option, that suited my design needs and quality expectations.
A good friend of mine Andy Murphy has recently left Foster & Sons shoes to head business development at Simpson London. He has told me at a high level what they do, and the extremely high quality they do it at.
I reached out to see if they could accommodate my needs:
- Large weekender, to accommodate my large shoes and clothes
- Doctors bag style, as I like the large opening for ease of access
- High quality British bridal leather
- Extremely high quality construction to last a lifetime
This was going to be a fairly decent monetary investment, but I’m more ready now to make purchases a one and done. Too many times I’ve been a quantity over quality guy, but in the past few years that has shifted 180 degrees. I now want products and items that I can enjoy for the long haul, as they meet my design and utility needs.
Andy was more than happy to meet at the brand new Simpson London headquarters in the East End of London. So on my next trip back home to London, we met and the rest of this articles covers that meeting and the resulting bag.
Simpson Leather London – Factory Tour
I was greeted by Andy, and spent the next few hours going around the showroom, workrooms and leather storage rooms.
Needless to say, I was like a kid in a candy store! I always love a good factory tour, seeing all the artisans working away, sometimes I just wish I had their patience and skill.
All the staff were very welcoming and giving of their time showing me their latest projects and progress.
Typically Simpson Leather does larger runs for themselves and other designers (either co-branded or white labeled).
But they occasionally do on/off pieces like the one I was looking for. See their “bespoke” page here: http://www.simpson-london.com/bespoke/
Upon completion of the tour, Andy had a great idea of what I was looking for.
The Leather Dr’s Weekender Bag
After several update emails, and a total of 10 weeks, the bag arrived in the States from London.
I could not have been more pleased with the results. The leather is of such high quality, construction was perfect, and most importantly for me it was the ideal size!
The Best Bag I Own?
It’s definitely the most expensive bag I own!
And yes it is the best bag I own for the purpose it was designed for. I shall not be hiking in Patagonia with it anytime soon, but for odd overnight and weekend trips, this shall be my bag of choice.
You can reach Andy here: [email protected]
Read More From Bespoke Unit:
- Bespoke Unit travel articles
- How should a suit fit
- Common body types and how to dress for them
- Explore over 30 different style of shoes and how to wear them
"If you're in need for a custom leather item like I was, then look no further than Simpson Leather. It was a joy to work with Andy & his team. I could not be more happy with the results. This extra large leather weekender should last a lifetime!"Rating: 5.0 ★★★★★