The Pilot Bag from Satchel & Page, with its hand-stitched, rugged leather, looks as if it has always existed. And since its bags are guaranteed for life, it will — for you anyway. And probably for whoever inherits it. Details like set and hammered copper rivets, antique brass hardware, and hand oiling aren’t just for the vintage look; they’re vintage craftsmanship.
Daniel Ralsky, owner and founder of the Austin-based company, is quick to point out the labor in its efforts. “All our leather is made using the vegetable tanning process. It’s treated with a natural blend of oils and waxes and takes 30 to 40 days to prepare. Most of the process is done by hand.” The vast majority of leather bags on the market are made with a much cheaper, and environmentally punishing, chrome-tanning process, which takes a day or two.
The entire line of Satchel & Page’s heirloom quality bags and cases was molded after a WWII map case that belonged to Ralsky’s grandfather. “So each piece in our collection is influenced by a bag from that era. The Gladstone, for instance [a hinge-opening satchel] was inspired by doctors’ bags used in the UK in the early 1900s, and the Pilot Bag has more of a mid-century modern look, as it was inspired by the sleek carry-ons from the jet age of the 1950s.”
The Pilot Bag is the quintessential expression of the Satchel & Page aesthetic: subtle, meticulous detail in a clean, minimal design. The aim, as Ralsky explains, is “to really let the quality of the leather and hardware stand out.” Meeting TSA carry-on requirements, it has one interior zipper pocket and two small open pockets and comes with an adjustable leather shoulder strap. But be ready for some attention — it’s sure to draw eyes as you slide it in the overhead. [$470; Satchel-Page.com]