Hello everyone, and welcome to another of my reviews. In this article, I’ll be reviewing a pair of wallets from Kisetsu.
If the brand sounds familiar, that’s because Kisetsu took Kickstarter by storm in 2021 with the Kaizen, raising money from over 900 backers. Unfortunately, things didn’t pan out great for the brand thereafter, culminating in a disastrous Kickstarter project for the Shinkai (just visit the comments).
Local accessories label Ed Charly swooped in, buying out the remainder of Kisetsu’s stock, and effectively bringing the brand into its fold. For those uninitiated with the brand, Ed Charly offers a range of minimalistic wallets, similar in concept to Kisetsu. I particularly like the Ed Classic, which is now listed on The Shiok Shop.
So a brand buys out a struggling competitor, essentially giving its products a second lease at life. Let’s see if they are any good.
Kisetsu Kaizen and Natsu Review – Video Review
For those interested in seeing some hands-on footage of the two wallets, do check out my Youtube review of the Kisetsu Kaizen and Natsu below:
Kisetsu Natsu – Review
Let’s start with the Natsu, a small no-frills wallet meant for essentials.
The Kisetsu Natsu is made from crazy horse leather. For those who are unfamiliar with the material, crazy horse leather isn’t actually made from horses. Instead, crazy horse leather was named as such because the same form of leather is traditionally used to make horse saddles. Crazy horse leather is produced by applying a specific kind of wax to a full-grain calf leather piece that has been buffed and smoothed out. Over time, the colour and texture of the wallet will alter, giving the piece a unique, vintage look. The Natsu used to come in either black or brown, but is currently only available in black (as pictured above).
The Natsu has RFID protection, and can fit 4-6 cards, with a dedicated cash slot and an anti-spill compartment for coins and keys.
Unfortunately, I wasn’t a fan of the Natsu. The card slot had a plasticky lining that crinkled every time I tried to insert/remove a card, and it really frayed my nerves. The dedicated cash slot also didn’t feel secure – I was always paranoid that my cash bills would slip out, which happened a couple of times. Its only strength is in its small form factor, but even so, I’ll probably opt for the Ed Classic by Ed Charly (which is only slightly larger) instead.
Kisetsu Kaizen Bifold Wallet – Review
However, I really enjoyed the Kisetsu Kaizen Bifold wallet.
Like the Natsu, the Kisetsu Kaizen Bifold wallet is crafted from crazy horse leather. Due to its full-grain nature, it actually patinas beautifully. I’ve been using the Kaizen as my wallet of choice for 1-2 months now, and the patina it has since developed is simply gorgeous. Even the little scrapes that it picked up add to the character of the wallet.
The Kaizen also comes in four different colourways, namely Brown, Black, Red and Blue. Out of the four, brown would definitely be the classic, safe pick, while blue would perhaps suit those who prefer something more striking.
The Kaizen has four card slots – including a quick-access slot – which fits about 6-10 cards. Being a bifold wallet, there’s a full-length cash compartment, as well as an anti-spill compartment for coins and keys. There’s also a small slot for a travel pen in the middle, though I’ve mostly not used it.
Enhancing its functionality is a utility section in the cash compartment, which includes a SIM, SIM Ejector, and SD card, making it a viable travel wallet. The use of high-grade elastic nylon lining is also a boon, as it means the interiors will withstand rips and tears easier.
Further enhancing its durability is its wearproof cut edges, which should honestly be a feature on all wallets. Coupled with its svelte form factor, the Kaizen wallet possesses both style and substance. It’s made from quality materials, is thoughtfully designed, and is slim enough to slide into my pocket without creating a bulky bulge. It looks good, and has just enough storage capacity for me to fit everything that I need.
Conclusion – so Kisetsu wallets “shiok” or not?
I’ll probably give the Natsu a miss – I can’t see a reason to opt for it over the Ed Classic. However, if the Ed Classic is too minimalist for you and you find yourself needing more storage options, then the Kisetsu Kaizen Bifold wallet is a great choice. It’s ruggedly built yet elegantly svelte, with several thoughtful decisions that enhance its durability. There are also several nifty features, such as the anti-spill coin compartment, the quick-access card slot, and the travel-friendly SD/Sim card slots. At S$119, it’s pretty affordable for a full-grain leather bifold wallet too, making the Kisetsu Kaizen a great value proposition.
I liked the Kisetsu Kaizen Bifold wallet so much, it’s now my wallet of choice. As such, I’m also listing it on The Shiok Shop (which serves as a curation of my favourites that I’ve reviewed), where it’s available for S$119. It’s a great bang-for-buck wallet – don’t miss out!
P.S: Check out The Shiok Store here – it serves as a curation of my favourite products from my favourite brands.
P.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.P.P.P.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.