Style: Bag in Hand

Fiveleft Leather satchel | BCBusiness
Fiveleft Leather’s made-in-Vancouver satchel.

The venerable briefcase bites the dust as modern professionals seek sleek satchels to tote smartphones and iPads

When it comes to business attire, the venerable briefcase is now as passé as the British bowler hat. The beeping chimes of laptops and tablets have been the death knell of the old, reliable handle boxes. Today’s tycoon would rather throw a satchel over his shoulder or pop her iPad in a messenger bag—with the noted exception of the giant black file folders wheeled around courthouses by lawyers. (Of course, with its insistence on sporting 17th-century robes, Canadian jurisprudence could hardly be accused of sartorial modernity.)

For the owner, satchels represent freedom from file folders and from mountains of paper. For the designer they also represent freedom—of shape and style. Bags can be crafted in any shape and any size. They can be minimalist or feature any number of embellishments. Perhaps most important from a business standpoint, bag-making is a perfect cottage industry, where one-man or one-woman shops can thrive. When it comes to this selection of satchels and rucksacks designed and/or manufactured in B.C. and Canada, we’ve got this one in the bag. 

ABOVE Fiveleft Leather’s sleek and modern career carrier is handmade in Vancouver by Emily Carr University of Art + Design alum Lincoln Heller, using vegetable-dyed leather, antique tools and time-honoured saddlery traditions ($325,

RIGHT Father-and-son duo Nik and John Palmer are known for their industrial esthetic, beautifully encapsulated in their custom-made Palmer and Sons HipBag No. 19. Their made-to-order smaller bags take about two weeks to complete, with larger rucksacks requiring four to six weeks on average ($310,

LEFT Vancouver-based designer Denise Wilson uses a zero-waste principle when creating her Bronsino bags. The Miguel is made of overstock new goat skin and absolutely every part is used, with scraps from larger bags made into smaller and smaller bags and pouches ($500,

RIGHT Made of locally tanned elk by Vancouver’s Erin Templeton for her eponymous collection, the Tomboy is a tote that easily transitions from a Sunday beach visit to a Monday morning meeting. Two magnetic closures can be used to transform the shape of the bag to get a classic square tote, a pinched purse or a duffel look ($395,

LEFT While not B.C.-based, Roots Canada is the only large-scale Canadian clothier that continues to design and manufacture in Canada. This hardy Harlem Tote—like all Roots’ leather goods—was produced in its manufacturing facility in Ontario ($348,