Hello everyone, and welcome to another Singaporean review! On this shiok Sunday, I’m reviewing a couple of items from homegrown leather accessories brand, Obbi Good Label.
Obbi Good Label is a Singaporean company that specialises in offering rugged, durable leather products – bags, wallets, belts, and even watch straps! For this review, the brand kindly sent me their OGL 9981 Tote Bag Utility Safari Olive, as well as their OGL FAB Military Webbing watch strap. Let’s see if they are any good!
Obbi Good Label – the Brand
Obbi Good Label describes themselves as “a leather product company that produce handmade leather pieces that are unique as well as useful,” making products that will “last a lifetime”. Founded in 2008, all of Obbi Good Label’s leather products are made in-house in their Geylang workshop by their team of artisans, all of whom have possess at least 10 years of experience.
In addition to offering rugged leather products, Obbi Good Label also has their own leather academy Atelier Lodge, whereby Obbi Good Label’s team of artisans hold leather workshops, teaching interested participants how to make small leather products. I’ve personally visited the Obbi Good Label workshop, and I must say that I’m blown away at the brand’s dedication to making leather products that will stand the test of time. If you’re in the area, I highly encourage you to pop by Obbi Good Label’s Geylang workshop.
Without further ado, let’s delve into the review!
Obbi Good Label is perhaps best known for their bags, and after using the OGL 9981 Tote Bag for a few months, I certainly can see why.
Handmade in their workshop, the OGL 9981 Tote Bag is primarily made out of industrial-grade canvas. The brand states that the canvas used here is water-resistant, which means that it should be able to keep your belongings dry even when it’s raining. The OGL 9981 Tote Bag comes in numerous colourways, such as Green, Khaki, Off-White, and this Olive variant that I’m reviewing. Out of the lot, my preference is definitely for either the Off-White or the Olive colourways. However, the Olive variant is probably the more practical choice for everyday use, as the white tote bag may get dirty easily.
While the main body of the tote bag is made out of canvas, leather accents made out of vegetable tanned leather are present. I love the contrast between the black leather and the olive green canvas. The leather accent is fashioned in what Obbi Good Label calls “iconic OGL 9981 original leather shape”, which refers to the wavy “V” shape of the leather accent that’s present on most of Obbi Good Label’s bags. There’s also an applied “9981” logo in brass, which will patina nicely alongside the black vegetable tanned leather. Overall, the tote bag gives off a rugged, sturdy look with a slight vintage vibe, and I’m absolutely digging it.
One of the aspects that I was most impressed by is the handles. The handles of the OGL 9981 Tote Bag are crafted out of thick, sturdy leather, which feels absolutely solid in my hands. As many of us might know, the handles of a bag is the area that usually first gives way, often because cheaper bags use padded handles. I’m very impressed by how Obbi Good Label is able to offer such thick leather handles – which are bolted on for added durability – on a bag that costs less than S$200.
Not only is the OGL 9981 Tote Bag designed to be durable, it is meant to be practical as well. And on that front, I think the bag scores rather well. The brand describes the 9981 Tote Bag as having a “utility style”, with spacious vertical storage, and I concur. In fact, there’s so much room that I actually use the 9981 Tote Bag as my tennis bag (yes, it fits a tennis racket) – if that doesn’t show how spacious it is, I don’t know what will. There’s also 2 internal pockets with D-rings for hooking small items for easy access, and a small button snap. I found the two compartments useful for storing small items, such as my mask/portable charger/book/etc. However, I do wish that the bag had a laptop compartment. A laptop is really quite an essential item when going out, and the lack of a dedicated laptop compartment here makes the OGL 9981 Tote Bag less versatile.
I should also mention that the OGL 9981 Tote Bag has internal seam piping reinforcement to prevent frays. There’s also a nice leather patch that adorns the interior of the bag, proudly proclaiming that it is made in Singapore.
I really like the OGL 9981 Tote Bag. I love its rugged and vintage aesthetics – I think it’s a stark departure from the “polished” office bags that I usually review. It probably wouldn’t be to everyone’s tastes, but I think it’s a great niche that Obbi Good Label is operating in. I love the contrast of the olive canvas against the black leather and brass accents. I also appreciate how sturdy and durable the bag feels. It’s pretty spacious as well. My only qualm is its lack of a dedicated laptop compartment, which means that it isn’t a viable option to take to the office or a meeting. Still, it’s a bag that has form and function (mostly), and astounding value for under S$200. I have no doubt that the OGL 9981 Tote Bag will last me for years – that’s a claim I can’t always state for bags twice the price!
As an avid watch enthusiast, I was stoked to try out the OGL FAB Military Webbing watch strap.
The OGL FAB Military Webbing watch strap has to be one of the most intriguing watch straps that I have reviewed. The OGL FAB Military watch straps are actually reconstructed from original Army webbing used on SAF military helmets and equipment. Used on military helmets or on equipment like rifle slings, harnesses, etc, they are cut out and modified into Obbi Good Label’s FAB Military Watch Straps. Used in the late 70s to early 90s, these webbings are currently obsolete due to the invention of modern materials, replacing by nylon canvas. According to the brand, it is now rare to find cotton canvas for watch strap. As cotton canvas fades over time, each strap is technically unique, with its own unique fade. Personally, I find this concept undeniably cool – you’re literally wearing a piece of military history (or for older readers, perhaps nostalgia) on your wrist. I think it’s the perfect complement to any military-styled watch, such as the Yema Superman Bronze, Hamilton Khaki Field, etc.
Interestingly, the hardware on the OGL Fab Military Webbing strap is original as well! Even the hardware, such as the metal loop and the metal tip, are sourced from obsolete SAF military equipment. Due to their age, the metal components have developed their own unique patina, making each strap truly one-of-a-kind. How amazing is that?
The OGL Fab Military Webbing Strap comes in a variety of styles – Velcro (pictured above), Square Buckle, Zulu, Bund, and Astronaut, which is inspired by the design of the watch strap on Armstrong’s wrist when he became the first man on the moon. Out of the five variants available, my pick would definitely be the Velcro as it is the one that is most reminiscent of army. In the SAF, we use Velcro for almost everything – ILBV, pant pockets, etc. The green velcro that Obbi Good Label uses on the straps meshes well with the military look of the strap too. Definitely the most authentic style, in my opinion!
I really, really like the OGL FAB Military Webbing watch strap. I love how intriguing the concept is, and appreciate how unique it is to be wearing a piece of genuine military history on my wrist. As a Singaporean Son, I’ve also done my mandatory NS stint, and wearing the strap on my wrist brings back nostalgia about my army times. Furthermore, it looks amazing on military-inspired watches, such as the Yema Superman Bronze (pictured above). Although it is a little pricey at ~S$100 – you can get a custom leather strap from Delugs at that price – I think the uniqueness of the strap justifies its price.
Conclusion – so Obbi Good Label “shiok” or not?
Yes, I think so. I like the brand’s commitment to delivering rugged, durable products that will stand the test of time. I quite enjoyed the OGL 9981 Tote Bag, and personally use it on a regular basis. It looks great, is fashioned out of sturdy materials, and is quite spacious. It’s certainly a lot of value for a sub-S$200 bag. However, it is the OGL FAB Military Webbing watch strap that blew my mind. I absolutely adore how the brand managed to source for original materials (canvas and hardware) from SAF helmet and other equipment, and incorporate them in their straps. It’s a blast of military heritage and personal nostalgia on the wrist, and pairs terrifically with my Yema Superman Bronze – just look at the picture below!
For those interested, you can use the promo code “WAHSOSHIOK” for 10% off all non-promotional items from Obbi Good Label’s web-store, valid till the end of October. After the discount, the OGL 9981 Tote Bag would cost a mere $139.50 USD/ ~S$195, while the OGL FAB Military Webbing Strap would be just $72 USD/ ~S$100. I think that’s a very fair price considering how well-crafted the products are. It’s also important to note that these products are produced locally in Obbi Good Label’s workshop by local artisans, and not outsourced to some developing country for cheap. Let’s support our local leather artisans!
View Obbi Good Label’s web-store (called Rugged Gentlemen Shoppe) 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.