Scouting Rakuten, I spotted this curious looking Brady Nevis backpack (which reminds me a bit of something a character from 400 Blows would carry). My house is filled with Rubbermaid bins of bags (Archival, Brady, Filson, Hunting World, Bertram Mann, Zo, Domke, etc.). I don’t need a single new bag – and yet – I am always open to curious mashups of stock bag styles (Rucksack meets a messenger bag, the movie!). Brady bags are never cheap and there are quite a few classic models that I’m hoping to aquire (the Gelderburn and MacLaren to name a few). However, I’m tempted to save up and nab a Nevis before they disappear from the market. This model appears to be one of those frustrating, Japan only iterations: available via a few web shops and than slated to taunt you as “product unavailable” when you launch your Google search – a few years too late.
Even when I am in austerity mode, I love to browse Rakuten to see what is on offer for Japanese shoppers. A decade later, I remain fascinated by all the licensed euro brands that show up in small Japanese web shops (Kempel, Danton, Yarmo, Sierra Designs, Brady, to name a few). I cannot think of another place in the world where brands and styles are imported, reimagined, and than sold exclusively to a domestic audience. Fortunately, Rakuten has developed a worldwide shipping service that has opened many webshops to international customers. I tend to browse the new shops for brands and than sift the used clothing sites for bargains. I am always looking for updates on staple items or cues as to how stylish Japanese customers are sporting their garb. Here are so recent finds.
FWK Engineered Garments lab coat paired with rolled trousers and Parabook loafers. As someone who locked in my high water pant height years ago, I love the Japanese commitment to the extreme ankle exposure and socklessness.
I love Japanese appetite for special white and off white color treatments. You won’t find these Brady bags or Barbour jackets in the US or UK.
Several fave web shops have reached stasis in they model catalog clothing. The approach applies to men and women and goes something like: knit cap, long chore or lab coat, baggy trousers, socklessness and sneakers, clogs or loafers.
Interesting twist on the UK Lavenham equestrian jacket. I like the idea that a summer jacket would be designed with a quilt lining. The pockets on the jacket are pitch perfect.
I’ve seen a number of web shops market kids clothing to women. For me, this proves that a customer base exists for heritage clothing resized to fit women (without compromising design details or creating separate colorways). I only wish more US apparel companies would adopt this approach (or at least expand the size offerings of the kids lines to include XL and XXL).
Danton is my new FWK Engineered Garments. I love the round collar, windproof jacket. I already own a few copies and anxiously await a new release in a melton wool or cotton twill.
If you follow Archival, you know that we love UK-made, Brady game and fishing bags. While the brand and product line has expanded in the last few years (adding business, biking and equestrian lines, not to mention, Japan only models), the core patterns have remained relatively unchanged since this 1976 catalog. It’s a relief to know that Brady bags are still handmade in England in the same materials (Archival faves: canvas, brass and bridle leather) as the original models from the 30s and 40s. If you are shopping for a new bag, I recommend The Sporting Lodge which offers stock and special edition Brady models like the Gelderburn in an exclusive colorway or this unique jubilee cartridge bag from 1952 (originally carried by the Queen).
Since my bag library is full, I frequently collect images of vintage Brady models from eBay, Rakuten and Etsy. I’m searching for vintage Brady models that I haven’t seen in print catalogs or incorporate features like hand knotted game nets that have disappeared from the modern line. Here are two recent finds that I’m adding to the Archival image archives:
Brady Sandringham with hand knotted, hemp game net. Brady still sells a Sandringham with a nylon game net (an undervalued feature on modern bags) but I love the level of hand work represented by this vintage model. I don’t own a Sandringham, but if I ever buy another Brady, it will be this bag.
I love the diminutive yet overbuilt look of this tiny, early era Brady shell bag. The treated canvas has aged beautifully and the tiny scale of the bag really throws into relief the bag’s beautiful material components (essentially becoming a framing device for the lovely, bridle leather and brass closure).
Classic Dana Designs Bomb Pack from eBay (Mine is also purple, but a slightly different colorway)
I always think of the Dana Designs packs which were called “Blurple” – a cheerful hue lurking somewhere between blue and purple – as being my favorite color ever for technical baggage. Since those aren’t available aside from eBay, here’s a wide range of purple goods that have been catching my eye recently.
Gorgeous Skookum crew neck sweater. Japan-only, of course.
It’s great to see all these new Chapman special collaborations and Japan special make ups. I’ve always viewed Chapman as something of a Carhartt to Brady’s Filson. Chapman makes terrific, UK-made field bags out of what the testers at the Montgomery Ward Bureau of Standards might designate as good or “economy” quality materials. For example, the rubber lining on my older Solway game bag is starting to crack and the leather is in need of repair. Brady, on the hand, uses top quality bridle leather, solid brass hardware and mil spec webbing–components that result in a premium price. The Brady line is small and focused on a few signature styles (the Ariel, the Trout, the Gelderburn, etc). Chapman, on the other hand, offers limitless variations on classic British and Fishing styles including bags made from linen and tweed along with standard cotton canvas drill. If you cannot afford Michael Palin’s $295 Brady Geldenburn , shop from the vintage Chapman catalogs below for terrific, economical alternatives.
Knowing my obsession with the history of British fishing bags, Brady Brothers was kind enough to loan me this original brochure from 1976. I’m told that when Brady was operating from Halesowen, England, they kept very few original advertisements or print catalogues. Brady issued a small brochure type catalogue every 10 or 15 years since nothing in the product line ever changed. At the time, British fishing and game bags were quite popular and there was usually a 2 year waiting list for a bag like the leather Brady cartridge bag. The small brochure from 1976 is the only one known to exist within the company.
I’d love to see the shopping list current readers would draw up from this catalogue. I own a few bags from this catalogue including the diminuitive Norfolk and the staggering Scot (webbing wider than my shoulder blade). Per Brady’s own notes, most of the items pictured in this catalogue are still available today (making the catalogue a bit of a peeking-into-the-past let down). I’m most curious about the items found on the “Miscellaneous” page of the brochure–namely the ferret bag, bridle leather dog collar and rabbit purse nets. I’m wondering if these items should be considered as key accessories in a future heritage clothing collection.
Spanish leathe “Versatote” (on my Archival Finder list)
More English Fishing Bags (made by Brady, no doubt)
Expedition Canvas Tentage
Kalahari Grill and Fish Locator Glasses
A few more shopping cart items from the catalog that brought you the Springbok hassok, chromed steel “supercube” furniture and genuine zebra luggage tags. Apart from the overabundance of African trophy skins (“obtained by licensed hunters and landowners”), the 1968 Hunting World catalog remains a terrific source for top quality British canvas and Spanish leather game & field bags. One can still locate British versions of thes bags in the catalog by way of Brady (whose models retain the same names). However, I would add the Spanish-made leather “versatote” to my own archival finder last. Wondering if that same small, 5-man saddlemakers shop in the Spanish mountains is still open and available for custom orders.
Hunting World 1975 coming soon (elephant skin loafers and brass pocket pepper grinders!).
Indigo Slims blog author and denim designer, Jessica L., sent me these photographs of her 18 month old Brady Gelderburn fishing bag. The bag is one of the largest in the Brady range and I questioned Jessica on her selection of this specific style (and on why the bag’s strap was already so frayed after so few months of use). She replied: “It’s quite a big bag for me and i have the strap long, but i am also guilty of overfilling – i use it every day as my handbag & for work stuff. it’s also picked up a little indigo from my jeans! occupational hazard.”
My own Brady inventory includes the diminuitive Norfolk, a Brady tote and a Japan-only rucksack. But I’ve always coveted the oversized Gelderburn as a travel bag every since I saw Michael Palin toting one around in his (recommended) BBC documentary, Around the World in 80 days (1989).
Another submissions to the Brady visual archives by Gus W. who purchased his first bag back in 1986. Here are his notes regarding his Brady collection which includes both fishing and shooting models as well as a more contemporary, urban shoulder bag (no longer available):
The smaller “Ariel” model is, as you know, a fishing creel with a snap in rubber liner. I bought it in 1986 when my son was born because I wanted a masculine and practical diaper bag. After serving its intended purpose flawlessly, I began using it for travel and urban adventures. I bought the second, larger Brady bag in London a year ago at The Dover Street Market to carry artwork. It is nice to see that the workmanship and quality of the leather is as good as ever with Brady. They are wonderful bags.
The [Sandringham] bag with the netting is also vintage since it has the Brady “Halesowen” tag. This heavy canvas bag has a fused rubber liner unlike the snap out liners found on today’s bags. I love the look of the netting. I want a large tote bag with that same feature to take to the farmers market!
If I lived in Japan I’d be president of a regional Filson “going outside” club. We’d take pictures of ourselves wearing full Filson outfits and go on Filson themed camping trips (ala Snow Peak).
My club would write yearly letters to CC Filson petitioning them to bring back clothing and accessories that had been discontinued from their original product line. This year, we would write a letter requesting that Filson reintroduce the nice box style rucksack w/a simple cinch top pictured (in postage stamp scale) in their 1998 catalog. We would request that Filson have the bag made out of the original tin cloth from the Martin company and launch the rucksacks as part of a larger “heritage” line of luggage and clothing based on historical patterns, materials and catalog images.