San Francisco is the place to be for any energetic start up looking to cash in on a fresh demographic. From app companies to new age sandwich shops, its sloped hills house thousands of young-blood ventures that desire to shake things up. Everlane was founded by some such folks, with the intent to cut out the middle-man in clothing manufacturing. Directly linking customers with information about which factories produce their goods and all of the costs associated, they make it possible to buy designer basics knowing exactly how much any item has been marked up. From knitwear to basic leather goods, Everlane represents an affordable alternative to normally expensive clothing or trappings. I got my hands on their Suede Weekender Bag, a $135 duffel meant for short excursions or weekends out.
There are two small straps which allow the duffel to be carried like a tote. After just a short while though, carrying it like this is uncomfortable. Since there is no shoulder strap option, the only other methods of holding the bag are to sling it onto your back or carry it over your arm like a purse. Neither are highly suitable for long term movement. This is a bag that is meant to be taken from taxi to airport or car to home, not lugged around for extended periods of time; but the spacious design is suitable for short or long term use, since it’s essentially one open compartment with a small, zippered area sewn into the interior. This area and a pocket on the exterior make it possible to keep a few small items from being swallowed up in the bulk of the bag, without disrupting the appeal of the amorphous design. Since it is relatively formless, larger and more cumbersome objects can fit into this weekender than the traditional rucksack. As long as you pack with some level of organization, this is a convenient place to store a large amount of items.
The suede is nice enough to keep the bag both soft and sturdy, while retaining a sleek high-fashion appeal. It’s also noticeably soft to the touch, as is the interior canvas lining. The leather that comprises the straps, zipper pulls, and piping is thick and attractive. The portion of the zipper that is leather-lined is double stitched, along with a couple of the other leather details. This is a solid bag, but only in the context in which it is intended to be used. You might not bring this weekender with you on a trip out to the slopes; but it would be very well suited to being paired with…well, a suit. It would last much longer as a stylistic accoutrement than if much abuse were to distress the supple exterior. Given a tame environment and gentle owner, it could last a decade.
With a company focused on making designer goods available to the public straight from the factory, much of the appeal revolves around the elegance and simplicity of attractively designed products. This weekender is no exception to that rule. A hot ticket item in the designer market right now, this style of bag has a classic silhouette. This combined with the minimalist detailing and beautiful suede exterior of the offering give it a fantastic look. You could just as easily take it on a weekend trip to the coast as you could bring it to Milan during fashion week. That’s really the purpose of this bag; it’s high fashion made affordable.
Everlane makes it easy to find out how much it cost to produce your item, the markup, and what a traditional retailer might have sold it for. Listed directly under the product description and factory information is a chart showing the cost of materials, hardware, labor, duties, and transport associated with whatever item you are viewing. With a production cost of $82, the traditional retail value projected at $400, and the Everlane price rests satisfactorily on $135, this Suede Weekender is a good buy. That is to say, its a good for anyone who wants what they’re offering: a stylistically based design with good materials and great functionality. You might not be able to take this duffel into the forest on your dirt bike, but with the kind of looks it draws in the city, you may never want to.