Feature: 7 places in Singapore to buy formal bags

Hello everyone! In this week’s roundup, I’ll be covering 7 places in Singapore where you can get quality formal bags for your work needs. All the places mentioned below are Singaporean-owned and led – if you’re looking for a new briefcase, consider supporting a local business instead of going to Picard/Braun Buffel/Filson/etc!

My Strand briefcase from local bag label, Gnome & Bow.

Disclaimer: this article is not sponsored – none of the companies mentioned below paid me a cent to be included in this article. However, these are all homegrown brands dedicated to offering quality bags, often at an affordable price. Without further ado, these are 7 places in Singapore where you can get quality formal bags!

1) Obbi Good Label

With a lean towards more rugged products, Obbi Good Label offers bags made to stand the test of time.

My Pick: The Obbi Good Label 9981 Leather Aviator Bag, priced at $575 SGD.

Who they are: “Obbi Good Label Company, a leather product company that combines unique, useful, and simple products that stand out from the individual rest. Our leather products are designed and crafted by independent artisan craft-men. All products are carefully selected and handmade to desire, we welcome all ideas and offer what you see that is different.”

My opinion: Bags from the Obbi Good Label Company have a vintage, rugged aesthetics to them – their products seem transported from a bygone era! Each time I see their products, I can’t help but imagine the Wild West, for some reason. My pick of the bunch have to be their leather Aviator bag – the usage of leather in the construction adds a formal touch to the bag, yet retaining the sturdy aesthetics of the brand. For those looking for a durable formal bag with a distinctive look, Obbi Good Label Company should have plenty of options for you!

International shipping: Yes, free.

Price: Starts at $149 SGD for a tote bag.

Where to buy: Interested readers can buy from their web-store here, or visit them at 8 Perak Road, 208129 Singapore.

2) Gnome & Bow

Known for their literary infused bags, I previously reviewed Gnome & Bow twice – here, and here.

My pick: Gnome & Bow Reversible Strand Briefcase, priced at $242 SGD (after promo code below).

Who they are: “Gnome & Bow was founded on that very notion that bags can go beyond functionality to become a new medium for storytelling, evoking the same emotions as our favorite stories…Drawing inspiration from the classics to tales of fancy, we develop story elements that are imbued seamlessly into our goods….Timeless as the stories that inspire us, we believe that our bags should be too. Our collection of bags, wallets and small leather accessories are designed to be the perfect companion for the discerning individual.”

My opinion: Gnome & Bow is definitely one of my personal favorites. I love how they seamlessly weave literary elements of iconic fables into the design of their bags. Being an avid reader (as well an appreciator of classic literature), I was really mind-blown by several of their bags, especially the Strand Briefcase (pictured above). The Strand Briefcase encapsulates the ethos of the tale Strange Case of Jekyll and Hyde through its reversible nature, with a formal looking polished olive side, as well as a more casual mosiac-printed canvas side. The build quality of their products are superb too, especially considering the price point. If you love literature, or are simply looking for an unique bag, be sure to check out Gnome & Bow. For more information about the brand and their products, do read my reviews of the Strand Briefcase and Kale Backpack!

International shipping: Yes, for orders above $250 SGD.

Price: Gnome & Bow briefcases starts from $149 SGD.

Where to buy: Interested readers can buy their bags off Gnome & Bow’s web-store, here. As Gnome & Bow is an official partner of Wahsoshiok, simply quote “WAHSOSHIOK” to enjoy 10% off all products store-wide. Currently, Gnome & Bow also have an ongoing GSS promotion (till 31st July) where you get $50 SGD in store credit for every $500 SGD spent. So if you are looking to get a bag from Gnome & Bow, there’s no better time to get one but now!

3) Oxhide Leather

While Oxhide Leather predominantly focuses on female products, they do carry a small collection of affordable men briefcases as well!

My pick: Oxhide “Wall Street” briefcase, priced at $299.

Who they are: Oxhide’s mission statement is to “provide premium quality leather products to the world. Provide to the world the products that are trendy, fashionable and useful. We constantly strive to improve our designs in terms of their appearance, usefulness, and quality.”

My opinion: If you’re looking for affordable briefcases with classic designs, Oxhide Leather would be a good option! In my honest opinion, Oxhide offers probably the best bang-for-buck out of all the brands mentioned on this list. A full leather briefcase from Oxhide starts from only $199 SGD – at this price point, you would mostly be getting canvas briefcases from the other brands mentioned on this list! For those interested, I previously reviewed the Oxhide “Wall Street” briefcase, here.

International shipping: No.

Price: Oxhide’s briefcases starts from $199 SGD.

Where to buy: Interested readers can buy from their web-store here, or visit them at #01-73 HabourFront Centre, Singapore 099253.

4) OnlyBrown

OnlyBrown doesn’t sell/manufacture its own goods – rather, they are more of a purveyor of fine leather products, offering a curated selection for purchase.

My Pick: Signature Briefcase (MTO), by Malton Kielman, starting from 2000 SGD.

Who they are: OnlyBrown states that they “go off the beaten track to uncover lesser known brands, some even family-owned, who have been crafting leather goods for as long as they live. We visit their workshops to get firsthand experiences of how things are made. These brands resonate with us because of their strong heritage or story and our common beliefs in excellent craftsmanship and attention to details. Our leather goods are functional and classic in design because they are meant to last and heirloom-fit to pass on to future generations.”

My opinion: If you are picky and particular about your leather (like I am), Onlybrown is probably your best bet. At OnlyBrown, there’s a reverence for the traditional art of leather crafting – an appreciation for the painstaking handiwork that goes into making the products. They are also the only one on this list to offer Made-to-Order briefcases, where briefcases (such as the one pictured above) are crafted by a single craftsmen using fine Italian leather, hand-patinated. If you’re looking for a timeless, thoroughly hand-crafted leather briefcase, I highly recommend checking out OnlyBrown!

International shipping: Yes, free.

Price: Starts at $248 for a tote bag.

Where to buy: Interested readers can buy from their web-store here, or visit them at 5 Everton Park, #01-22A, Singapore 080005.

5) Tocco Toscano

One of the oldest brands on this list, Tocco Toscano has been a mainstay in departmental outlets since 1987!

My pick: the Pomino Uno briefcase, priced at $349 SGD.

Who they are: “With a focus on handbags and other small leather goods, Tocco Toscano offers a wide range of different product types and styles that complement all aspects of the modern individual’s lifestyle. Each Tocco Toscano product is hand-crafted by experienced professionals and known for its durability, richness, smooth texture and lack of physical imperfections.”

My opinion: Tocco Toscano actually has a rather compelling backstory. To summarise, founder James Lor had a turbulent childhood, struggling with drug addiction problems as well as prison convictions. After his release, he went to Florence, Italy to apprentice under a leather master craftsman, Stefano, who at that time sold leather products under his label, Toscano. James eventually persuaded Stefano to grant him licensing rights in south-east Asia, and thereafter bought the brand in the 1990s, rebranding it as Tocco Toscano. Today, leather bags offered by Tocco Toscano are stylish and fashion forward, whilst paying homage to traditional leather crafting methods. For those looking for a sleek, modern looking briefcase, crafted with fine workmanship using quality leather, I highly recommend checking out Tocco Toscano.

International shipping: Yes, free.

Price: Starts at $349 SGD for briefcases.

Where to buy: Interested readers can buy from their web-store here, or view their products in departmental stores such as Takashimaya, Tangs, OG, Metro, and Robinsons.

6) Faire Leather Co.

Fun fact: Faire Leather Co’s co-founder, Joseph Lor, is actually the son of Tocco Toscano’s founder, James Lor! In fact, Faire Leather Co is co-owned by Tocco Toscano, so it’s safe to assume that share the same supply chain/materials.

My Pick: the Bond briefcase, priced at $599 SGD.

Who they are: Faire Leather Co. describes themselves as “a men’s leather goods online label that redefines true value as Functional Luxury at a Fair Price. Founded in Singapore by Joseph Lor and Ryan Choy, Faire Leather Co. taps traditional know-how from decades of heritage and experience with real-time feedback and data to create stylish products designed for maximum function.”

My opinion: If you’re a heavy duty professional, the Bond briefcase is perfect for you. It has been engineered and designed to hold all the things you need, and all the things you never knew you did – all within a sleek form factor. Not only does it have the capacity to hold a sh*t ton of stuff, everything has been compartmentalised smartly so that finding what you need (phone, keys, wallet, laptop, tablet, etc) is a breeze – the briefcase is designed to eliminate the need to dig for stuff. Furthermore, unlike other young bag startups, Faire Leather Co is able to tap upon the decades worth of manufacturing capability of Tocco Toscano – ensuring that you get a quality product (likely crafted by the same craftsmen who have been making Tocco Toscano products for decades) at an affordable price. There’s a reason why they managed to raise over $400K on Kickstarter – making them one of the most funded Singaporean crowdfunded project till date!

International shipping: Yes, free.

Price: $599 for the Bond briefcase.

Where to buy: Interested readers can pre-order from their web-store here, though at time of writing the briefcase has already sold out.

7) Kwanpen

Kwanpen should be a household name to most Singaporeans – they were founded in Singapore in 1938. Yes, that makes the brand even older than Singapore itself!

My Pick: the Kwanpen document briefcase. Enquire at their boutique for price.

Who they are: “Proudly handmade in Singapore, KWANPEN Crocodile leather handbags have always been associated with prestige and magnificent craftsmanship…Each KWANPEN handbag goes through a minimum of 30 man-hours to craft, highlighting the outstanding craftsmanship that surrounds every single creation emerging from the KWANPEN workshop.”

My opinion: Kwanpen represents the creme de la creme of bags for me. When I’m able to walk into their MBS boutique and pick out a briefcase for myself, that’s when I know I’ve made it in the world. ALL their bags are made from center belly-cut crocodile leather, with most of the manufacturing process done manually. As Kwanpen states, each bag takes more than 30 hours to craft, making each product an undeniable masterpiece. As compared to the rest of the bag brands mentioned, Kwanpen is undeniably a cut above the rest – I’m proud that Kwanpen is Singaporean. God, I want a Kwanpen briefcase so bad – hopefully I’ll be able to attain one in the near future!

International shipping: What shipping? Kwanpen bags are only available for sale in their boutiques, though they do have several international boutiques in countries such as Japan, England, Hong Kong, Macau, Thailand, South Korea, Turkey, Qatar, and UAE.

Pricing: Enquire at their boutique.

Where to buy: The Singapore Kwanpen boutique is located in Marina Bay Sands, with the men boutique located at B1-85. For the full list of international boutiques, click here.

Conclusion:

I hope you guys enjoyed this list of homegrown bag labels, all of whom carry some fantastic formal briefcases for men! In my own personal experience, I see most of my peers turning to brands like Pedro/Braun Buffel for their formal bag needs. Hopefully this shows that there are certainly several local bag labels that you can consider supporting if you’re out on the prowl for a new briefcase! Several of the brands mentioned on this list are still relatively young – I can’t wait to see what innovative designs they bring to the table next.

P.S Do check out the new “Discounts!” page for exclusive discounts for Wahsoshiok readers! More brands will be added very soon – stay tuned!

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