Floto Imports Firenze Dowell Briefcase Review – $449

Recently I was out looking at motorcycles, one of those “maybe this is the month I buy one” type of things, and as always, one particular brand held my attention captive – Aprilia. The salesman, sly man that he was, must have noticed my jaw ajar and said something that I absolutely loved – “It’s just got that special Italian magic.” I’m reminded of that phrase every time I look at Floto Imports Firenze Dowell Briefcase. Available from the Floto Imports’ online store, the briefcase comes in Vecchio Brown, Olive Brown, or Black. In this case, I’ve had the pleasure of keeping the Black version with me as my daily bag. The Firenze Dowell joins the other briefcases in the collection as a welcomed addition to the aesthetic and feel of the Floto line.

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We have been fortunate to review several great pieces from Floto Imports over the past year or so. You can read those reviews here. Floto Imports was established in 2003 and is based in Brooklyn, NY. All of their products are manufactured in Italy with the philosophy, “older is better”. According to the Floto website, “Our mission is to refine old world craft methods to produce pieces that are superior to mass-produced luggage. Top grade Italian calfskins and natural, vibrant fabrics come together to create timeless and iconic styles.”

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We’re at the point, in the ebb and flow of trends, that favors the “rugged” look in American fashion, and it’s this precise reason that makes the Firenze stand out so much. This isn’t a mountain man’s bag, this is the bag of a gentleman. The polished black calfskin leather looks as sleek as it does refined, and the clean lines and stainless steel hardware finish out the look in a way that demands a second glance. I use this bag every day, and I can honestly say that I feel like dressing up my wardrobe to finish what the bag starts every time I put it over my shoulder. It would look as good with a three piece suit as it does with nice jeans and oxfords.

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As you’d expect from a briefcase, this bag has plenty of room for my documents, books, and personal effects. Currently I’m using it for two reference books, a documents folio, and two notebooks, but I could easily fit a laptop in there too should the need arise. There’s a main compartment for the bulk of the storage, with a zippered pouch, and the smaller but functional front pocket has spots for pens, a phone, and business cards with room to spare. It’ll hold everything you need it to in a way that is simple and effective.

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Despite its sleek, simple look, the bag is crafted sturdily. Built in Italy, the stitching is clean, precise, and well executed. The same could be said of the hardware: the stainless steel looks and feels sturdy, and provides no room for worry. The strap is detachable by means of clips, which feel as reliable as the rest of the hardware. The lock on the front is one of my favorite parts of the bag. Made by Amiet, a Swiss company specializing in hardware for leather products, the lock is sturdy and simple, utilizing a small key for operation. If you don’t need to lock the bag, the mechanism acts as a simple method of securing it, and can be operated by pulling the switch down. With weeks of steady use I see no signs of weakness from any of the bag’s features: again, this is a product that has as much function as it does form, and that’s saying something.

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For a price that is well under what similar designer bags would cost, Floto Imports has created a briefcase that will complement anything you wear, capable of dressing up a pair of jeans with oxfords (though you may feel this bag deserves a suit). Sleek, simple, timelessly classy. It’s a bag that I’m not only happy to carry, but that carries what I need in a way that makes my old messenger bag seem barbaric by comparison. Put simply, the Firenze Dowell Briefcase has that special Italian magic.

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