Hello everyone, and welcome to another in-depth Singaporean review! Today, we are taking a break from reviewing watches and moving to something unprecedented – office bags. Everyone needs a good briefcase – you can’t be wearing a Herschel bag with a suit! (Unless it’s dress down day and you’re going for that suit with converses look, though that is another article altogether) In the upcoming months, there will be more review articles on formalwear – office bags, dress shoes, and suits. Basically, everything that’s essential to being a dapper male! For those who follow my website for watches, don’t worry. Wahsoshiok will continue to predominantly focus on watches, but from time to time I’ll switch things up by taking a look at formalwear products.
For our maiden bag review, we shall be looking at the “Wall Street” Briefcase from Oxhide. And yes, in keeping with Wahsoshiok’s dedication to local enterprises, Oxhide is indeed Singaporean. Without further ado, let’s take a look at what they have to offer!
Update: I’m pleased to list a curation of Oxhide leather products on my new web-store, The Shiok Shop.
Oxhide – the Brand
As aforementioned, Oxhide is a homegrown, Singaporean enterprise. Oxhide was started by two guys, Bharat and Dharmendra, who had plush jobs in investment banking, but sought an entrepreneurial adventure. Dharmendra had prior experience in the leather industry, while Bharat always had a strong interest in fashion. They met by chance in 2016, exchanged their passions over a nice long chat, and the idea of Oxhide was born that day.
So what is the idea of Oxhide? Oxhide’s mission statement is to (quoted from the above video) offer leather products that are “useful, durable, and beautiful……at an affordable price point”. For those further interested in the story behind Oxhide, you can watch an interview with their aforementioned founders above. Fair warning though – the audio quality is terrible.
Without further ado, let’s see if the Oxhide “Wall Street” Briefcase exemplifies their mission statement of being “durable, useful, and beautiful”!
Oxhide “Wall Street” Briefcase – Build Quality
When buying a briefcase, one should look out for the quality of a few things: leather, handles, stitching, and zippers. Let’s see how the Oxhide “Wall Street” briefcase fare in these categories!
Oxhide is first and foremost a leather goods company, and thus it’s of no surprise that the leather of their “Wall Street” briefcase is of high quality. Oxhide uses top-grain leather in the construction of their premium office bag. For the uninitiated, there are generally 3 tiers of leather – genuine leather, top-grain leather, and full-grain leather. Genuine leather tend to be sh*t, while full-grain leather tend to cost a pretty penny. As such, top-grain leather is usually seen as the perfect compromise between quality and affordability. To learn more about leather, I actually wrote a bit about it here, or you can check out this lovely article (no affiliation) here. Generally speaking, full-grain leather is more durable, and develops a lovely patina over time. Top-grain leather on the other hand is more resistant to water and stains, and is generally the material of choice for designer handbags. So technically speaking, the quality of the leather in the Oxhide “Wall Street” is actually similar to those you see in “branded” handbags such as Coach and Burberry! (Which should make it apparent that such designer goods are actually much more about the brand name, rather than quality) The leather on the Oxhide briefcase is smooth and supple to the touch, and looks luxurious. I sincerely believe that for the price, the quality of leather is quite superb.
Next, we move on to the handles. Other than the leather deteriorating (most often on genuine leather), the handles are probably the most vulnerable part of a briefcase. Anyone who owned a bag before would have the experience of the handle coming apart. This is because on lower-quality bags, the handles tend to be stitched to the main body. Over time, the stitches will fray, and the handle will come apart. On higher quality briefcases, the handles should be screwed onto the main body. Of course, screws are much stronger and durable than stitches! I don’t think I’ll have to worry about the handle of the “Wall Street” briefcase coming out anytime soon.
In addition, the side hardware of the briefcase is screwed on too! The part depicted above is the hook for the detachable strap (more on that later). Again, on lower quality bags such parts will tend to be stitched on, which as aforementioned is much less durable.
Furthermore, the stitching on the Oxhide “Wall Street” briefcase is quite well executed. There’s no loose threads, uneven spacing, or fraying as far as I can tell. Something noteworthy – the corners of the briefcase are actually double-stitched, providing reinforced durability for traditionally the most vulnerable part of the stitching. Take a look at your wallet, bag, etc – generally, the corners are where the fraying starts to appear as it’s the area exposed to the most wear-and-tear. I would say that the quality of stitching of the Oxhide “Wall Street” is about as good as it gets for this price point. Granted, the briefcase is still machine-stitched, not hand-stitched, but you will definitely be paying a premium for that additional level of craftsmanship.
Unfortunately, no product is perfect. In the case of the Oxhide “Wall Street” briefcase, the chink in the armour would be the zippers. Firstly, the slider (the thing you pull) seems easily scratch-able. I had the briefcase for a week, and somehow have already managed to get it scratched (as seen in the photo above). Secondly, the sliders (being fashioned out of a single piece of metal) feel plain and uninspired. From a design perspective, I would have loved to seen some embossing or engraving done, which would not only provide better grip, but also add sophistication to the bag. Thirdly, during my experience with the bag the zipper of the inner compartment gets stuck easily. Perhaps it’s a manufacturing defect, in which case Oxhide does offer a 6 month warranty, covering tearing of leather and lining, zippers, and hardware. If you encounter any problems with the zippers (like I did), you can always go back to them and Oxhide will replace them for you. Still, I’d rather have quality zippers in the first place rather than rely on the warranty.
Overall, the Oxhide “Wall Street” briefcase (with the inexplicable exception of its zippers) punches above its weight in terms of build quality, especially compared to other offerings in the same price range. This is one (largely) well built briefcase! Let’s now take a look at its practicality.
Oxhide “Wall Street” Briefcase – Practicality
I’m happy to report that in addition to being well-built, the Oxhide “Wall Street” Briefcase is highly practical as well.
Firstly, there’s a lock function on the briefcase, which might come in handy if you’re carrying around sensitive documents.
Secondly, the Oxhide “Wall Street” is a soft-sided briefcase (as opposed to the more traditional, hard-sided ones). What this means is that the sides are expendable (to a certain extent), allowing it to accommodate laptops/documents of differing sizes and length. Such briefcases are more popular nowadays due to it’s versatility. In my experience with it, I was able to fit a 14 inch laptop in pretty easily, as well as numerous A4 documents.
As briefly mentioned earlier, the Oxhide “Wall Street” briefcase also comes with a detachable strap, giving you the option to sling the briefcase should the load become too heavy to hand-carry. Maybe I’m weak, but I actually found myself using the sling more often than not. Hand-carrying the briefcase (and it’s a hefty one) was physically taxing. As such, I appreciated the practical benefits that the detachable sling brought.
Inside, the Oxhide “Wall Street” boasts an incredible amount of compartments. You get a front compartment (which I used to store my Ipad), a secondary compartment with pouches for pens, watches, and phones/umbrellas/keys/etc. There’s also a middle zipped compartment (which you can use to store documents) , and a laptop compartment at the back spacious enough to fit a 15.6 inch laptop due to the expandable sides (though I wouldn’t understand why anyone would bring such a bulky laptop to the office). Make no mistake, this is one heavy-duty bag – it should be spacious enough for you to bring all you need to work, or even to a business trip abroad!
With it’s practical features and spacious interior, the Oxhide “Wall Street” briefcase makes for a pragmatic office bag overall.
Oxhide “Wall Street” Briefcase – Design
Looks-wise, the Oxhide “Wall Street” briefcase is a rather formal looking office bag with a more vintage vibe.
I would say that the styling cues of the Oxhide “Wall Street” briefcase veers a little bit towards the traditional side. It looks as if it could have came out of Wolf of Wall Street! (A film set in the 1990s) It gives off a formal, no-nonsense look, especially with its angular rectangular shape, double-straps, and lock clasp. Admittedly, it’s a look that losing popularity nowadays as younger working adults turn to more contemporary styles. However, if you’re going for a more mature look (especially relevant if you’re in banking, a lawyer, or selling insurance), this could just be the right bag for you.
I always preferred the looks of the embossed logo as I think that it’s understated in an elegant way. An applied logo would have been too flashy here, especially coupled with the shiny lock clasp. The pebble-grain leather is more of an acquired taste, but it fits nicely with the vintage, mature look of the “Wall Street” briefcase.
I think that the back of the Oxhide “Wall Street” briefcase looks neat and sharp. I like the clean-cut design – it looks sophisticated. Also, I forgot to mention earlier – there is a back compartment too, should you want to easily access any further knick-knacks.
However, I don’t like the inner-lining of the briefcase. It’s made out of this glossy polyester lining that looks and feel cheap. Furthermore, I think Oxhide could have designed the lining in a more visually attractive manner, instead of this chocolate-brown lining sprinkled with the Oxhide logo. It’s not only an outdated design, but also distasteful in my opinion – it looks like the interior of some Louis Vuitton knockoff that you see in a pasar malam!
In general, if you’re looking for a sensible, mature looking briefcase, and don’t mind the inner lining, the Oxhide “Wall Street” briefcase may just fit the bill. Just don’t expect it to be seen carried down the runway (or by David Beckham) anytime soon.
Shootout: Oxhide “Wall Street” Briefcase VS Picard Mobile Briefcase
Oxhide prides themselves in their leather products, so I felt it was fitting to compare them to another company renowned for their leather goods, Picard.
Right off the bat, I can say that on paper, the Oxhide “Wall Street” briefcase is definitely of higher build quality than the Picard Mobile briefcase. Let’s just compare a few key areas. Firstly, Oxhide uses top-grain leather, while Picard states that their briefcase is made of something called “Supple-grained leather”. I had no idea what that was, so I googled it. Turns out, there’s no such thing! (Legit, try googling it yourself) My best bet is, the leather is of genuine leather quality, and Picard tried to mask that by describing it as “Supple-grained”. If a bag is made from quality top or full grain leather, trust me, the manufacturer would make it a known fact. Secondly, the handles on the Picard (as can be seen above) are sewn on, instead of being screwed on as they are on the Oxhide. As aforementioned, this makes the handle less durable, and more prone to coming apart. I don’t have the bag in person, and as such am unable to comment on the quality of the stitching or the zippers on the Picard briefcase.
In terms of practicality, the Oxhide has the upper hand as well. The Picard can only accommodate a 13inch laptop – so if you have anything bigger, it won’t fit. I prefer the looks of the inner-lining of the Picard (it looks more visually appealing and interesting), but not so much the outer looks. From the outside, the Picard looks like a glorified laptop bag! Furthermore, the Picard briefcase is substantially more expensive than the Oxhide. As such, in terms of build-quality, practicality, and value, the Oxhide definitely has the win for me. Looks wise, it’s subjective, but personally I’ll give the Oxhide the edge as well as it just looks more formal and sophisticated, especially from the exterior. Due to the above reasons, the Oxhide “Wall Street” briefcase wins this shootout.
Conclusion: so the Oxhide “Wall Street” Briefcase “Shiok” or not?
For $242 SGD (after promo code below), I do think that the Oxhide “Wall Street” briefcase is one of the better options in its price range.
At the start of the article, I mentioned that Oxhide’s mission statement is to offer leather goods that are durable, useful and beautiful at an affordable price. The Oxhide “Wall Street” Briefcase certainly nails it in terms of the build quality (with the exception of the zippers) and practicality department. I just compared it to Picard – a household name in leather goods – and shown that in terms of build quality, practicality, and value, the Oxhide briefcase trumps a similar offering from an established player such as Picard. That’s no small feat! As for beautiful, looks are after all subjective. I personally don’t think it’s one of the most breathtaking briefcases I’ve ever seen (not even close), but if a formal, mature look is what you’re gunning for, this may well fit the bill.
Overall, if you’re looking for something durable and practical for everyday office use, the Oxhide “Wall Street” Briefcase offers good value at $242. You can buy one from their online shop here, or from their physical store in Harbourfront Centre (#01-73) if you want to see the briefcase for yourself in person. For interested readers, Oxhide has kindly provided a 10% discount – simply use the code “WAHSOSHIOK-SHIOK“!
Update: A curation of my favourite Oxhide leather products can also be purchased on The Shiok Shop.
Oxhide “Wall Street” Briefcase dimensions:
38cm(W) X 29cm (H) X 9cm(W)
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Nigel Gomes, @the_lone_cadre