While Faire Leather’s trademark product is undoubtedly its Bond briefcase, the humble briefcase is arguably an obsolete product in today’s WFH climate. As such, Faire Leather has been refocusing on more casual offerings lately, including wallets and laptop sleeves. Let’s see if they are any good!
Faire Leather – the Brand
I’ve previously covered the brand story of Faire Leather in my review of the Bond Slim Briefcase. I also reviewed the Hunt Utility Backpack here, as well as a couple of the brand’s accessories (Specter Bifold Wallet with Cardholder, the Ross Everyday Clutch, and the Ross Daypack) here.
Faire Leather – Hunt Laptop Sleeve
If all you need is to carry a laptop to a cafe for a zoom meeting, there’s no need to lug around a bulky briefcase – a laptop sleeve would do.
The Hunt Laptop Sleeve is available in Black, Navy, and Olive Green. Between the three colourways, my preference is for the Navy variant – Black looks a tad too formal for my liking, while Olive Green is too reminiscent of the army (my reservist is impending). Furthermore, Navy is the most stylistically versatile, appropriate for both shuffling between different meeting rooms at the office and also a quick productive trip to the library.
The exterior of the Hunt Laptop Sleeve is fashioned out of high-density water-resistant Nylon, the same sort that was presumably used on the Hunt Utility Backpack (therefore the same model name). The result is a fabric that is strong and robust, and one that can weather the elements. The laptop sleeve also features black saffiano calfskin trimmings for added sophistication. Made popular by fashion label Prada, saffiano leather is known for its cross-hatch texture, as well as its scratch and stain resisting properties.
The Hunt Laptop Sleeve smartly features a hidden magnetic closure clasp, which ensures that your precious laptop doesn’t slip out by accident.
The interior of the Hunt Laptop Sleeve is decked out in Faire Leather’s trademark burgundy micro-fibre suede, which is a form of synthetic leather. Not to be confused with PU leather, microfibre leather feels more premium to the touch, and mimics the characteristics of real leather. However, due to its synthetic nature, it does not degrade as quickly as real leather, and is thus more durable.
As expected of a Faire Leather product, the Hunt Laptop Sleeve features an external slot with two nifty slip pockets for easy compartmentalization. In my experience with the product, I found the two slip pockets to be most useful in storing various tech peripherals – I tend to put my mobile charger + cable in one pocket, and my wireless mouse + earphones in the other, while the larger external slot holds my mousepad. I did try to store my laptop charger in the external slot, but quickly realised that it was a bad idea as it made the Hunt Laptop Sleeve way too bulky. It’s worth noting that the back compartment features the hidden magnetic closure as well – no finicky zippers here!
The Hunt Laptop sleeve is available in both 13- and 16-inch configurations. According to Faire Leather, the 13-inch is just right for a 13-inch Macbook Pro/Air, while the 16-inch variant is suitable for laptops like the 16-inch Macbook Pro and Dell XPS 15. I found my Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 to fit comfortably in the 16-inch Hunt Laptop Sleeve with plenty of room to spare. If you’re undecided, my advice would be to opt for the larger option – it’s a mere $10 more.
To ensure a better grip, the Hunt Laptop Sleeve features a front slip handle that’s made from saffiano calfskin leather. It adds both style and function, and I found myself using the front slip handle most of the time when I’m carrying the laptop sleeve.
All in all, I really like the Hunt Laptop Sleeve from Faire Leather. It looks good and pairs well with a variety of outfits, is ruggedly durable, and retains the high functionality that the brand has come to be known for. My only knock is the price. At $179 (after the promo code below), it’s pretty pricey for a laptop sleeve. For comparison, a similarly designed Bellroy laptop sleeve can be had for less than half the price. Make no mistake, I believe the Hunt Laptop Sleeve to be the superior product – I just don’t think it’s more than twice as good as its competition.
Faire Leather – Neo Zip Around Wallet
If you love a zip wallet, the Neo Zip Around wallet would be right up your alley.
The Neo Zip Around wallet comes in four different colourways – Camel, Burgundy, Black and Green (pictured above). Out of the four, I find the Green variant to be the most striking. It pops, unlike the other subtler colourways. Green is also a trending colour in both the horological and fashion world, so it should complement well with something like the Phoibos Nebula that I reviewed last week, or the Irish linen suit I did with Meiko Tailor a while back.
The Neo Zip Around wallet is fashioned from top-grain cowhide, so it will patina beautifully over time. After using the wallet for about a month, the leather has darkened to an elegant emerald shade. For those uninitiated, leather generally comes in three quality tiers – genuine leather, top-grain leather, and full-grain leather, in ascending order of quality. However, most brands choose to use top-grain leather over full-grain leather when making leather accessories as top-grain leather is often more robust. In addition, the leather of the Neo Zip Around wallet is embossed with a pebble-grain texture, giving it a more sophisticated look. The embossing is done rather well, and almost looks natural.
The inside of the wallet is made from nappa cowhide, finished in the brand’s distinctive burgundy shade. Nappa leather is a specific form of full-grain leather, fashioned out of the hides of young animals – in this case, cow – and is prized for its softness. Commonly seen in luxury handbags and the interiors for luxury automobiles, nappa leather is supple yet durable, and feels premium to the touch. As it is a form of full-grain leather, nappa leather will also patina over time, developing a nice, aged hue.
The Neo Zip Around wallet is also packed with functionality. For starters, the wallet features six card slots, a transparent ID card slot, as well as a coin compartment with a snap closure.
There are also two note compartments – useful for those that often carry different currencies. The compartments are lined with twist nylon in a matching burgundy colour.
Furthermore, the Neo Zip Around wallet also manages to incorporate three nifty slip pockets. I found them pretty handy – I stored an AirTag in the slip compartment behind the coin pocket.
Faire Leather doesn’t state what brand of zippers it uses (probably YKK) but it does the job well. The zipper feels robust, the zipping action is buttery smooth, and I never encountered a hitch while zipping/unzipping the wallet.
Overall, I loved the Neo Zip Around wallet – in fact, it’s currently my wallet of choice. It’s made from premium materials, and I find the embossed green leather to be eminently striking. In addition, it’s jam-packed with functionality, with more than enough compartments for my everyday needs. At $125 (after promo code below), the Neo Zip Around wallet is a solid value proposition. In contrast, a similar zip around wallet from Bellroy costs 20% more. However, it’s a tad bulky so if you’re a fan of slim, minimalist wallets you might want to look elsewhere.
Conclusion – so Faire Leather Hunt Laptop Sleeve and Neo Zip Around Wallet “shiok” or not?
I would say so! Both items are crafted from quality materials, have sleek designs, and are highly functional – essentially possessing both style and substance. I genuinely enjoyed using both products. However, if I had to pick a favourite, I would probably go for the Neo Zip Around Wallet by the simple virtue of it offering more bang-for-buck. It’s probably one of the best zip around wallets you can find at the $100-150 price point.
For those interested in purchasing the products, Faire Leather has kindly provided my readers with a 10% discount – simply use the promo code “WAHSOSHIOK” upon check-out to enjoy 10% off all products from Faire Leather! After the promo code, the Hunt Laptop Sleeve would cost a more palatable $179, while the Neo Zip Around wallet can be had for a mere $125. While Faire Leather is typically known for office products (especially its briefcases), the Hunt Laptop Sleeve and the Neo Zip Around wallet are proof that the brand makes great everyday items too – perfect for the current WFH climate!
P.S Do check out the new “Discounts!” page for exclusive discounts for Wah So Shiok 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.