Someone is going to compliment me on it today. That is something I can always count on when I leave the house carrying my Marlondo Leather Co. Messenger bag. A woman at the grocery store tells me it looks good or an older businessman asks where to find such a piece; day in day out no matter where you take it. There is no denying that it is a really great looking messenger bag and will continue to look better and better as I use it. When he began selling leather bags during his free time in college, founder Ma Londo decided that in order to ensure the quality of product he sold, he would need to make them himself. It has been three years since he opened up shop to craft attractive and durable products; these have been impressing the critics and buyers alike ever since. My individual bag is a 14” messenger with laptop sleeve and detachable shoulder straps. The $250 price tag originally made me question what I was dealing with, since some pieces of comparable quality and size can be found at double the price. But after about a month and a half of daily wear and tear on my bag, I can finally confirm: this is simply a good buy.
FUNCTION & CONSTRUCTION
Thick full grain leather makes up the heft of the bag, with a pigskin liner for internal softness. By itself, the leather is not thick enough to suggest strong joints, but every weak point is riveted securely. Dog leash clasps secure the adjustable shoulder strap, and make it easy to transform into a briefcase. Though it hangs at an odd angle in briefcase form it is still useful enough to bring to the office. The shoulder strap is quite comfortable, though its leather is so thick it can be rough at first. After about a week of break in it has formed to my shoulder and keeps the bag (even when loaded down) from feeling like an anchor. When adjusted this strap stays whatever length you choose without lengthening during use. Much of the exterior is single stitched with semi-thick nylon thread and stress points are double stitched. My main quibble is the amount of pocket space. There is a large sleeve pocket for a 14” laptop and one smaller pocket sewn into the front of the bag, with no other place to store pens, wallet, or phone. Small items tend to be swallowed up if they are not placed in the laptop space which might, problematically enough, be inhabited by a laptop. This should not be considered a fatal flaw, since many full grain leather bags have little accessory space; just be prepared to lose anything you do not keep in the small pocket on the front.
People will notice when you wear it in public; the look is simple and minimalistic. The full grain leather is a beautiful dark toffee colour, wearing in a little darker when it begins to form a patina. This messenger follows in the rising trend of “it looks better the more you beat it up,” which I can personally testify to. Each new scratch or blemish makes the bag a little bit more individual, a little bit more me. One of the most attractive factors of the leather is that it changes with the times, morphing with the wearer every step of the way. On the other hand there are a few true visible blemishes including a bit of sloppy sewing around the base. There is little to be found except under close examination, and all handmade leather products are somewhat imperfect. Still, if you want to find imperfections in the look you can, though that is not the point.
Marlondo has produced a sturdy, boutique-style leather messenger bag built to last as long as the person who buys it. Though a little lacking on accessory pockets and space, it is otherwise intentionally designed and functional. In the $250 price range, this is a great buy and a one of a kind bag: truly great value compared to its competitors. If you need a briefcase for the office, an everyday carry with room for your computer, an adventure pack with enough space to hold the bare essentials, or just something that will look great in and around the city, we recommend the Marlondo Leather Co. Messenger Bag. Just be sure to bring something to fit your small accessories into.