Hand-picked by Highsnobiety Editor in Chief Thom Bettridge, The Materialist is an editor’s letter in the form of a shopping spree. Its mission: to look closer at the products that fascinate us as a way to better understand ourselves and our world — or to just buy cooler stuff.
I’ve always found the word “accessory” to be inaccurate and — if I’m honest — outright insulting. Because what in the world do we love more than the items that hold our other items? Our humble (and not so humble) wallets, fannypacks, duffels, dossiers, and Dopp kits mean the most to us, because unlike our favorite T-shirt, we can use them every day in polite company. To call the trusty tote you’ve toted for many moons an “accessory” is like calling your best friend “a person I met in high school.” So out of respect for the real ride or dies of the style world, I would like to switch to my preferred term, “processory,” as I tell you about some of my favorite of them.
Really, and Truly, Securing the Bag
I would like to start with a public service announcement for processorizers everywhere: the attaché case is about to have a moment, and there’s nothing anyone can do about it. At a time when all you need to bring to your campus, office, or whatever coffee shop you work at is a laptop, the old-timey Madmen-esque briefcase silhouette has never made more sense. And with this one from the aluminum case staple Halliburton, you also have the option of paying a ransom on your way to Sweetgreen.
Please Do Touch My Raf
Raf Simons’s legendary “Black Palms” collection took place 14 days before my last day of 2nd grade, and at the time I was an avid keychain collector who would have loved this Eastpak x Raf Simons napsack. The overwhelming runway-meets-Hot-Topic vibe of this bag encapsulates one of the Belgian designer’s primary contributions to humanity: creating a world where the goths of yesteryear are the prom kings of tomorrow.
The Waiting Game
When it comes to the more practical purchases in life, it’s often good to adhere to a version of the famous “When in Rome…” saying:
When on the basketball court, wear the shoes LeBron James is wearing.
When at the juice bar, order whatever the healthiest-looking person is having.
And when buying a carry-on, do as business dudes do.
Tumi has long been the understated stalwart of Gold Medallion corporate ninjas everywhere, and when you look at the rock-solid construction of their bags more closely, it becomes clear why. At a time when the Rimowa is having a moment in the sun (guilty, I own three), this carry-on trolley literally goes against the grain with a warped diagonal-rib that gives off the feeling of popping a tab of acid in the Sky Priority Lounge.
1017 ALYX 9SM designer Matthew Williams has a unique talent for turning a banal piece of Americana into something sexy, European-looking, and expensive. Those who follow the brand have probably heard the anecdote about how his signature buckle — which has also made frequent cameos in Kim Jones’ Dior — was based off the safety harnesses at Six Flags. This brilliant FW19 bag, which was undoubtedly inspired by the hand-warmer pouches worn by NFL quarterbacks, takes avant-garde processorizing somewhere new that we didn’t even realize it needed to go.
A Side of Mystery Ranch
Mystery Ranch is a Montana-based brand that unlocks my chakras in three special ways:
They have an entire line of product servicing Smoke Jumpers who skydive into wildfires. Their Instagram features people walking through the snow with entire elk (antlers included) strapped to their backpacks. The company is called Mystery Ranch.
High on my wishlist is the brand’s Divide Pack, which with its interlocking five-compartment system, is like the backpack equivalent of a complicated Swiss watch.
I never would have guessed that I’d be plugging two items by Eastpak in one story, but then something strange happened. Stomping blindly through Heathrow after a rough red eye, I spied a refreshingly straightforward oversized duffel with an Eastpak logo on it and assumed that I might be hallucinating. 48 hours later, over tea in Shoreditch with the stylist Victoria Sekrier, our conversation arrived at the intricacies of good checked luggage. Durability. Roll-ability. The quantum physics of not going over an airline’s weight limit. My go-to: a giant Rimowa trunk. Hers: the gigantic black rolling suitcases made by…Eastpak.
So Mutch More
I didn’t bother Googling if the word has been coined before, but I would like to take it upon myself to herald the era of the mutch (man-clutch), a new chapter in menswear that will certainly prove to be more delightful than the age of the murse (man-purse). The dawn of the mutch — and there are many beautiful ones this season from Bottega and beyond — signals a larger shift toward downsizing in the world of bags for men. As a society, we simply need less in our lives, and the mutch is here for that. This Louis Vuitton “Soft Trunk” pouch takes the cake as my clutch of the season, because of its handy wrist strap that manages to feel dainty, practical, and touristy all at once. And it’s never not a pleasure to see that monogram in a new context.
Stay Dry, Ride or Die
Of all the bags in my world, none have done more for me than the watertight dry-bags by Ortlieb, a German manufacturer specializing in waterproof performance goods. These bags come in many sizes and I have four of them that play key roles in my life:
A 10L one to keep my adidas shower slides from touching anything else in my gym bag.
A 13L one that I keep in my travel suitcase for quarantining dirty socks and wet swimsuits.
A 22L one that I carry like a tote for overnight trips.
A 59L one that I use as a hamper in my bedroom.
This work-horse of a processory will change the life of any materialist.