Hello everyone, and welcome to another Singaporean review! On this shiok Sunday, I’m reviewing a few leather accessories from local brand, Faire Leather.
The brand kindly sent over not one, not two, but three items for me to review in this article – the Specter Bifold Wallet with Cardholder, the Ross Everyday Clutch, and the Ross Daypack. Let’s see if they are any good!
Faire Leather – the Brand
I’ve previously covered Faire Leather as a brand in my review of the Faire Leather Slim Briefcase. For those interested, you can read the review here. I also reviewed their Hunt utility backpack here.
Specter Bifold Wallet with Cardholder – Video Review
If you guys would like to see some hands-on video footage of the Specter Bifold Wallet with Cardholder, do check out the Youtube review below! I’ll be doing Youtube reviews as well from now on – to accompany these written reviews – so if you like the content, please do consider subscribing to the Youtube channel.
Firstly, let’s take a look at the Specter Bifold Wallet with Cardholder.
Faire Leather positions the Specter Bifold Wallet with Cardholder as the perfect accessory for the efficient working professional – it serves as both a wallet and business cardholder. It comes in two different leather variations, Vegetable Tan (which I’m reviewing) and Cross-Grain.
The exterior of the Specter wallet is fashioned out of US Top Grain Leather. Unlike lower quality “Genuine Leather”, top grain leather will patina after time, resulting in the leather looking even more beautiful as time passes. I must stress that top grain leather is still rarely found in sub-$100 wallets – at this price point, wallets from big brands such as Picard/Braun Buffel, etc still use mere Genuine Leather. Between the VT (vegetable tan) and CG (cross-grain) variants, I personally prefer the VT one that I’m viewing. It has a smoother texture with a slight gloss to it that simply fits with the brand’s minimalist aesthetic better. It’s a personal preference – the vegetable-tanned leather exude a more polished aura, while the cross-grain leather comes across as more rugged.
On the inside, microfibre is used. It’s a synthetic material that closely replicates the feel of actual leather, but is supposedly more durable. It has a nice premium feel to it and is reminiscent of Nappa leather due to its supple nature. I should also highlight that the stitching is impeccable, without any fraying or loose threads visible.
The Specter Bifold wallet features 4 card compartments, 2 horizontal and 2 vertical. If you’re used to carrying an assortment of cards in your wallets, don’t fret as each compartment can comfortably fit 2 cards. I should also highlight that the wallet has RFID protection, though in my personal opinion RFID wallets are more of a marketing gimmick than anything else.
The Specter bifold comes in two variants, one with a cardholder (the one I’m reviewing) and one without. The cardholder version costs $10 more, which in my opinion is well worth it for the utility it provides. I genuinely love how ingenious the design of the gusseted business card compartment (which can store 25-30 cards) is. To access your business cards, simply pull the pull-out tab and the cards will pop up, like in the photo above. Otherwise, the cards will remain hidden. It’s brilliant engineering, and a very practical feature to have. Previously, I was constantly carrying around a wallet and a cardholder – now, I no longer need to have two separate items with me!
There’s a single note compartment, which can be an issue with you’re a frequent traveller that’s used to carrying two different currencies. I think future iterations of the Specter wallets should come with dual-note compartments, given that travelling professionals are a key customer base for Faire Leather. However, if you’re not a constant traveller – especially in this COVID world – then this is not likely to be an issue.
The Specter wallet also comes with a hidden card slot to store important cards that one might like to keep concealed. Personally, I didn’t find this feature that useful – I don’t have an AMEX Black card to hide, and in the event that the wallet is stolen it’s not like the card wouldn’t be discovered anyway. Instead, I repurposed the slot as a hidden coin slot, which I found to be significantly more useful in my everyday life.
One of my favourite attributes of the Specter wallet has to be its svelte form factor. It’s small enough to fit into the palm of my hand, and I have had no difficulty slotting it into the breast pocket of my suit jackets. It’s relatively slim as well, so it doesn’t appear as an unsightly bulge in one’s trousers. If you’re a fan of smaller wallets, you will definitely love the Specter.
Overall, I absolutely adored the Specter Bifold wallet with cardholder from Faire Leather. It’s made out of premium, durable materials (US top-grain leather on the outside, microfibre on the insight), packed with functionality, and possesses a compact form factor. It’s great value for money as well. After the “WAHSOSHIOK” promo code below, you can get the Specter Bifold wallet with cardholder for just $98! I sincerely believe that it is one of the best, if not the best wallet under $100.
Price (after promo code below): $98
Ross Everyday Clutch – Review
For those that prefer something with more storage, Faire Leather also offers the Ross Everyday Clutch.
Faire Leather states that the Ross Everyday Clutch is designed for those who commute and travel frequently. In addition to card and cash storage, the Everyday Clutch can also store your mobile phone, portable charger, keys and other small items (e.g hand sanitizer).
Like the Specter wallet, the Ross Everyday Clutch uses US top-grain leather for its exterior. Unlike the smooth Vegetable Tan texture of the aforementioned Specter wallet, the Everyday Clutch has a Pebble Grain texture embossed. Again, I should stress that the quality of leather used is the same – it’s simply the aesthetic that is different. If you prefer your leather to have more texture, then the Pebble Grain design of the Everyday Clutch will be right up your alley.
Just like the Specter wallet, the interiors of the Everyday Clutch features microfibre, so one can expect the same supple feel. In addition, I find the burgundy aesthetics striking – there’s a regal/posh vibe, which elevates the refined feel of the Everyday Clutch.
If you carry around a ton of cards, the Everyday Clutch would be great for you with its whopping 10 card slots. You can see each card at a glance – no need to fumble around searching for cards!
Given that the Everyday Clutch is essentially a wallet with more storage, there’s a note compartment included for you to carry cash around as well. Here, Faire Leather uses twist Nylon for the inner lining, which feels significantly better to the touch and is also more durable than the typical polyester used.
Furthermore, there’s also a middle zip compartment that can be used to store your mobile phone, phone charger, receipts or any other small items. Personally, I found myself using it to store my phone charger and cable, as well as a few coins that I might have. I would say that it’s a general storage compartment, one that adds versatility to its usage.
If you still need more storage, there’s also a back zip pocket where one can store a variety of items (earphones, lipstick, perfume, etc).
Ultimately, the Ross Everyday Clutch is a great hybrid between a wallet and a clutch. Instead of having to bring out two separate items, Faire Leather combines the utility of both into one nifty package. There’s an abundance of storage, and I never really found the Everyday Clutch lacking in capacity when I go out. It’s a great accompaniment for date nights on Fridays, or perhaps for having a couple of drinks with your pals at a bar on the weekend. It looks good as a fashion accessory too, and is very much both form and function. Another thoughtfully designed offering from Faire Leather!
Price (after promo code below): $179
Ross Daypack – Review
Last but not least, let’s take a look at the Ross Daypack.
Faire Leather describes the Ross Daypack as a handy travel companion that is also suitable for everyday carry, where one can easily organise essentials such as your tablet, pens, cables, eyewear, wireless earbuds and even your wallet.
Like the Ross Everyday Clutch, the Ross Daypack is crafted from US top-grain leather, with a pebble grain texture embossed. Personally, I feel that the pebble grain texture fits the casual aesthetics of the Daypack better than the Everyday Clutch.
Faire Leather uses YKK zips in the Ross Daypack, which results in generally smooth zipping action. In my month or so of using the backpack, I have not encountered any issues with the zippers getting stuck, etc. The bag also features Faire Leather’s signature magnetic snap zipper at the side, which holds the zip firmly in place – you won’t have to worry about it opening by accident.
The Ross Daypack also features a padded water-resistant nylon backing, which is perfect for tropical climates like Singapore. This means that you don’t have to worry about your sweat seeping into the bag, stinking up the bag, etc. In that regard, this is a marked improvement over the common fabric/mesh that one commonly sees on backpacks. Furthermore, there’s also a magnetic compartment at the back, which can be used to stored valuable items such as passports/travel documents when travelling.
Like the Ross Everyday Clutch, the Ross Daypack also uses burgundy microfibre and nylon for the interior. In particular, I liked the Faire Leather branding that’s embossed on a sewn leather patch – a very nice touch. I would also say that the interior is decently spacious, capable of storing a tablet, a wallet, a book, a water bottle, also some pockets for small items (earphones, keys, etc).
At the front, there’s still more storage compartments in the form of pen slots, a wallet compartment, a zippered compartment to store slightly larger items (phone charger, phone, etc), and a general organiser tab that can be used to store sunglasses/cables/earphones/etc. I must give Faire Leather props for managing to squeeze so many compartments and storage slots into a relatively small bag – the brand really maximised the bag’s functionality.
The Ross Daypack comes with a sling, so you can sling it behind your back like one might with a crossbody bag. There’s also another magnetic compartment at the front, which can be used to store a slim book, an Ipad mini, wet wipes, etc.
All in all, the Ross Daypack is a commendable effort from Faire Leather. It’s well designed and simply jam-packed with smart storage features. It’s quite amazing how the Daypack is able to fit so many items into its small form factor. However, while it is a great product, I simply have not found much use for it in my everyday life. The Daypack straddles a rather awkward position between something light and handy (such as the Ross Everyday Clutch) and the slightly larger folio like the Bond Everyday Padfolio. Unfortunately, there simply weren’t many occasions for me to use the Daypack. If I’m going out for dinner, I’ll bring the Everyday Clutch to store my most essential items. If I’m heading to the office, or perhaps to the cafe/library to get some work done, I’ll use the Bond Everyday Padfolio instead as it has a laptop compartment. I can really only imagine myself using the Ross Daypack when travelling, perhaps whilst wandering the street markets of Bali or the shopping malls of Bangkok. However, given the current lack of travelling opportunities, I’m afraid the Daypack fails to fulfil a need for me.
Price (after promo code below): $269
Conclusion – so Faire Leather “shiok” or not?
Definitely so – all three items I reviewed today are thoughtfully designed and extremely functional. I love the Specter Bifold Wallet with cardholder, so much so that it’s now my primary wallet. I genuinely think it’s one of the best wallets one can get for under $100. The Ross Everyday Clutch is a great product as well, having the functionality of both a wallet and a clutch. I find myself turning to it when I’m going out for a longer period of time and use it to store my earphones/keys/phone charger/perfume/wet wipes/etc in addition to my usual cards and cash. Out of the three, the Ross Daypack is probably my least favourite simply due to the fact that I didn’t find as much use for it. Nevertheless, it’s still a well-crafted product, featuring a myriad of different compartments. It’s probably the perfect day bag for a quick vacation – the only issue is that vacations are out of the question for the near future. Still, if you like its aesthetics, and regularly bring your tablet out with you, the Ross Daypack is still an option you should consider.
For those interested, Faire Leather has kindly provided readers with a 10% discount – simply use the promo code “WAHSOSHIOK” to enjoy 10% off all products from Faire Leather! After the discount code, the Specter Bifold wallet with cardholder can be had for just $98, the Ross Everyday Clutch would be a mere $179, and the Ross Daypack would cost $269. Given the functionality and attention to detail the products possess, I think all three products – especially the Specter Bifold wallet with cardholder – are good value propositions. While Faire Leather is typically known for office products (especially their briefcases), I think they make great everyday items too. Definitely looking forward to more lifestyle products from Faire Leather in the future!
View Faire Leather’s full range of offerings here.
P.S Do check out the new “Discounts!” page for exclusive discounts for Wahsoshiok readers! More brands will be added very soon – stay tuned!
P.S.S.S Shiok is a common word Singaporeans use to express admiration or approval. As of 2016, you can find the definition of the word in the Oxford English Dictionary.