Feature: Affordable work bags in Singapore!

Hello everyone! In this listicle, I’ll be covering homegrown brands 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.

The following Singaporean brands offers quality work bags at affordable prices – all prices start from below $500 SGD! If you are looking for a well-made, bang-for-buck work bag, do check out the various value proposition below.

1) Design & Comfort

While Design & Comfort (D&C) are more known for their wide assortment of affordable shoes, they do also carry a small selection of men’s briefcases.

My Pick: the B4913 briefcase, priced at $75.90.

Who they are: “Established in 1989, D&C has become Singapore’s second biggest shoes and bags retailer with 19 stores island wide as of 2018. D&C’s main motto is to provide not only trendy and stylish footwear for all age groups but also ensure utmost comfort and durability for all of its products. D&C’s motto is predicated on its STEPS principle to its customers. D&C’s design and comfort assurance is attained through vigorous and stringent quality examination and construction by D&C’s founder and top corporate management.”

My opinion: If you’re someone on a budget, or someone who perhaps don’t use briefcases often, I think D&C offers some great value products. The B4913 briefcase in particular punches above its weight – the handles are bolted on (instead of sewn), the zips works like a charm, and the leather exterior of the briefcase empowers it to hold its own against more expensive briefcases. Upon first impressions, I find the briefcases offered by D&C to rival those of Pedro at twice the price. If you’re looking for a no-frills, durable and affordable briefcase, I personally believe that D&C is your best bet under $100.

International shipping: Yes

Price: Briefcases start at $75.90. Readers can use the promo code “DNC29” for 15% off online orders! (Valid till end of 2018)

Where to buy: Interested readers can buy from their web-store here, or visit them at any of their 19 stores nation-wide!

2) 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 Tote Carry All, priced at $159.

Who they are: “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. Despite the handcrafted nature of their products, their bags are still relatively affordable. For those looking for a durable work bag with a rougher edge, 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.

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 $279. (After promo code below!)

Who they are: Oxhide’s mission statement is to “provide premium quality leather products to the world…. products that are trendy, fashionable and useful. [Oxhide] 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 opinion, Oxhide offers probably the best bang-for-buck leather in the Singaporean market today. A full top-grain 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 here! For those interested, I previously reviewed the Oxhide “Wall Street” briefcase, here.

International shipping: No.

Price: Oxhide’s briefcases starts from $199 SGD. As Oxhide leather is an official partner of Wah so Shiok, simply quote “WAHSOSHIOK” to enjoy 10% off all online orders!

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

4) 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 here. 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 $269 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 Wah so Shiok, simply quote “WAHSOSHIOK” to enjoy 10% off all products store-wide!

5) 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: the Tool Tote, priced at $290.

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. [OnlyBrown] visit their workshops to get firsthand experiences of how things are made. These brands resonate…because of their strong heritage or story and our common beliefs in excellent craftsmanship and attention to details. [OnlyBrown] 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 your heaven. 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 are crafted by a single craftsmen using fine Italian leather, hand-patinated. The taste evident in their curation speaks volume about who they are. If you’re a fan of artisanal leather products, I highly recommend checking out OnlyBrown!

International shipping: Yes, free.

Price: Starts at $290 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.

6) 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 $325 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 $325 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.

7) LAVNG

LAVNG is a relatively young brand, which recently just successfully completed their maiden Kickstarter campaign.

My pick: the Soft Leather Briefcase, in Midnight Green, priced at $429.

Who they are: LAVNG was started with “purpose of making high-quality leather goods which are ‘made to last’ while preserving the environment.” They pride themselves in being an environmentally conscious startup, with their usage of natural vegetable tanned leather in all their goods.

My opinion: I personally think that LAVNG has a lot going for them. Their briefcases are minimalist, crafted out of vegetable tanned, full-grain leather which will develop a beautiful patina as time passes. My personal favourite is the Midnight Green variant – it’s a unique, striking colourway that I have not seen offered by any bag brands elsewhere! Both visually and in their use of natural materials, LAVNG reminds me a lot of Linjer – who also pride themselves in minimalist, vegetable tanned full grain leather briefcases – but at a significantly lower price. If you’re into minimalist designs, I believe that LAVNG briefcases are great value propositions! I’ve actually wrote an introductory article for LAVNG when they were on Kickstarter – one can read it here.

International shipping: Yes, free.

Price: Starts at $429 for briefcases.

Where to buy: Interested readers can buy from their web-store here. As LAVNG is an official partner of Wah so Shiok, simply quote “WAHSOSHIOK” to enjoy 10% off all products store-wide!

8) Faire Leather Co.

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 Slim Briefcase, priced at $499.

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: 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! I love the ability of Faire to combine sleek, minimalist looks with ultra-functional utility. Definitely a top recommendation of mine for those looking for an everyday briefcase!

International shipping: Yes, free.

Price: Starts at $499 for briefcases.

Where to buy: Interested readers can order from their web-store here, or view their briefcases over at Tangs and Metro.

Conclusion:

I hope you guys enjoyed this list of homegrown labels, all of whom carry some fantastic work bags for men! In my own personal experience, I see most of my peers turning to brands like Picard/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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