Hello everyone, and welcome to another Singaporean review! On this shiok Sunday, I’m reviewing wallets from local accessories label, Tresse.
Tresse is a local brand that I’ve had my eye on for quite some time. They are known for creating beautiful products with their leather weaves, offering some of the most distinctive leather goods out in the market currently. I reached out to the brand recently, and they sent me two of their best sellers to review. Let’s see if they are any good!
Tresse – the Brand
Founded in 2016, Tresse is a relatively young accessories brand that has managed to make a name of itself despite its youth. It’s easy to see why they quickly became popular – their woven leather goods are distinctive and instantly eye-catching.
Today, Tresse offers a range of products for both men and women, such as wallets, cardholders, purses, pouches, and more! If you would like to see and feel their products in person, Tresse is stocked at Naiise (Jewel and Paya Lebar Quarter), as well as in Robinsons The Hereen.
Without further ado, let’s delve into the review!
Tresse Tranca Saddle Wallet – S$135
First, let’s take a look at the Tranca Saddle Wallet.
In the world of leathercraft, weaving is deemed as one of the most challenging and painstaking techniques. Even in today’s industrialised world, leather weaving is still an artisanal process, one that requires human input. Before the leather can be woven, each strip of leather is manually cut to identical proportions, as well as hand-finished and inspected. Thereafter, the leather undergoes a natural tanning process before being dyed and aniline finished to maintain its sheen. I’ve been using the Tranca Saddle for about a month now, and as can be seen from the photo above it still retains a polished, glossy look – which I love!
The leather itself is goatskin, which tends to be stronger and more durable – as well as more water-resistant – than the usual cow leather. Personally, I love the woven aesthetics of the Tranca Saddle. When I first saw the wallet, it immediately reminded me of the Bottega Venetta wallet. Obviously, Bottega is a brand that has pretty much made woven leather products their trademark, but I think the Tresse Tranca Saddle wallet actually fares pretty well in comparison. The weave is finer and slimmer here on the Tranca Saddle, and for me it evokes a more rustic, traditional vibe that reminds me of those woven goods one often gets as a souvenir from Bali, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, etc. As aforementioned, I’ve been using the wallet for about a month now, and you can see some stretch marks forming on the leather. I’m personally fine with that – to me, it adds to the charm of the product.
For the interiors, sheepskin is used. As compared to goatskin – as well as the usual cow leather – sheepskin feels more soft and supple, with a smoother grain that results in a sophisticated feel. I appreciate Tresse’s discerning choice of leather here, as the interior of the wallet felt premium to the touch. In terms of aesthetics, it’s rather minimalist, though angled pockets keeps the Tranca Saddle visually interesting. There’s also a nicely embossed logo of the Tresse brand in the bottom right corner of the wallet.
In terms of compartmental space, the Tranca Saddle is rather sparse. There’s a single bill compartment, four card slots, and two slip pockets for you to discreetly store your more private cards (or items). I guess there’s two school of thoughts – if you prefer slimmer, less bulky wallets, and don’t own many cards, the Tranca Saddle is right up your alley. However, if you’re one of those that have a credit card/rewards card for everything, you might find the four card slots available here to be inadequate. However, you would likely then have to settle for a beefier wallet, which may not slip as nicely into your pocket. In addition, there’s also a lack of a coin compartment here. Personally, I’m used to using a coin compartment, so I had to adapt my usage behaviour a little – I now use the Zhi Whiskey cardholder to store my coins. Nevertheless, if you’re one of those who believes in a cashless system and use your cards/phone to pay for everything, this shouldn’t bother you.
The stitching on the wallet is pretty neat too, without any loose or fraying threads. In addition, one can see the grains of the leather in the macro shot above – simply beautiful.
Tresse uses a printed polyester lining for the bill compartment, which I find to be a shame. It’s aesthetically interesting, but in my opinion the usage of polyester lining here cheapens the overall feel of the wallet. I would have much preferred Tresse to use a fabric lining (like the Gnome & Bow wallet I reviewed previously) or simply leave it unlined (like on the LAVNG wallet I reviewed previously). It’s a bummer, especially considering that every other aspect of the wallet feels premium and refined.
Overall, I quite like the aesthetics and build quality of the Tresse Tranca Saddle. The woven leather design is distinctive and unique, and gives the wallet an artisanal feel. The combination of goatskin leather on the outside and sheepskin leather on the interior makes the Tranca Saddle premium to the touch too. It does not have many slots, and lack a coin compartment, but as mentioned earlier whether this is a boon or a bane depends on your personal preferences. My only knock is the polyester lining that Tresse used – definitely would want to see an upgrade in that department in the future!
Aside from the Tranca Saddle wallet, Tresse also sent me their Zhi Whiskey cardholder.
Like the Tranca Saddle wallet, the Zhi Whiskey Cardholder features a woven leather pattern on its front, this time in a lighter, “whiskey” hue. Between the two colourways, I have to say that I preferred the Whiskey. The Saddle variant comes across as more subtle, while the Whiskey colourway simply pops with its rich tone. Again, this boils down to personal preference, but my opinion is this – if you like Tresse for their unique woven designs, why not choose a more striking colour?
Goatskin leather is once again used for the woven leather exterior. I must say, I really like the rich hue of the Zhi Whiskey cardholder, which reminds me of a rattan bag. As compared to the Saddle colourway, the Whiskey comes across as even more rustic and artisanal in nature. Furthermore, there’s a nice contrast between the light brown of the woven goatskin leather and the chocolate brown of the sheepskin leather. Lastly, the brand logo is tastefully embossed in the top left corner – a very nice touch.
The same sheepskin leather found in the interiors of the Tranca Saddle is used for the back of the Zhi Whiskey cardholder. As mentioned above, the sheepskin leather is soft, supple, and feels premium to the touch. Upon closer inspection, one can clearly see the grains of the leather, indicating that Tresse probably used full-grain or at least top-grain leather here, and thus the leather should patina nicely over time. We also get an embossed brand name at the bottom. Furthermore, the stitching looks neat and tidy too, without any loose or fraying threads visible.
As a cardholder, I actually found the compartmental space to be adequate. There’s a card slot at the front, and two more card slots at the back. I found myself using the Zhi Whiskey as primarily a name card holder, though I can easily see someone relying on the Zhi Whiskey cardholder as their primary wallet. Again, the card slots are angled, which serves both an aesthetic (it definitely looks more striking) and a practical function (it allows one to access the cards easier).
There’s also a “hidden” center compartment, which Tresse curiously doesn’t mention/show on their website. I found myself primarily using the compartment to store my coins, as the Tranca Saddle wallet didn’t have a coin compartment. If you’re planning to use the Zhi Whiskey as your primary wallet, you can stuff your notes/coins here too! The inclusion of this large pocket compartment definitely makes the Zhi Whiskey cardholder a viable option for a light wallet. The same patterned polyester lining is used here, which is a shame – again, I think it cheapens the overall feel of the cardholder.
Despite using the Zhi Whiskey cardholder for only a month, I found – to my dismay – that the sheepskin leather trimming at the front has already been quite significantly scratched. To be honest, while I was bummed, I’m not that surprised – sheepskin is soft and supple, but unfortunately it isn’t that durable. I guess that was why Tresse (wisely) decided to use the more durable goatskin leather for the exterior of the Tranca Saddle wallet, and reserved its usage of sheepskin leather to only the interiors. However, they chose to use sheepskin as the trimming for the woven leather front compartment on the Zhi Whiskey cardholder, which I personally think is a misstep due to it being prone to scraps and scratches (as seen above).
All in all, I quite liked the Zhi Whiskey cardholder. The whiskey colourway certainly makes the woven leather aesthetics pop, and I found the cardholder to be wholly practical, even as a primary wallet. The polyester lining is a shame, as is the usage of sheepskin leather to trim the front woven compartment – but if you can live with both, I think the Zhi Whiskey cardholder is one that possesses both form and function. Furthermore, I should mention that there are numerous other colour variants of the Zhi cardholder, including the above-pictured variant in Black & Slate which I find absolutely stunning.
Shootout: Tresse Tranca Saddle vs Gnome & Bow Regent Billfold
If you’re in the market for a relatively affordable wallet designed by a local brand, another amazing local alternative to Tresse is a brand I’ve reviewed multiple times before, Gnome & Bow – specifically, the Regent Billfold.
Let’s start with the areas in which I feel the Regent Billfold is superior to the Tranca Saddle. Firstly, the Regent Billfold uses a lovely fabric lining (shepard’s checks), which gives the wallet an elevated feel. Secondly, the Regent Billfold has a whopping 10 card slots and 2 bill compartments – twice the amount of compartments that the Tranca Saddle has. As such, if you’re a heavy duty user and own a lot of cards, the Regent Billfold would definitely suit your needs better. Lastly, there’s also a variant of the Regent Billfold with a coin compartment, so for those that use coins often it’s good to know that there’s an alternative.
Of course, the Tresse Tranca wallet has areas in which it shines too. First and foremost, the woven leather design is simply superb – the textured, eye-catching yet at the same time subtle aesthetics is a winner. The Regent Billfold looks good as well, but it definitely does not look as distinctive as the Tresse Tranca wallet. Secondly, I preferred the supple sheepskin leather used on the interior of the Tranca wallet to the cowskin found in the Regent billfold. There’s nothing wrong with cowskin, but sheepskin is definitely more soft and supple, giving the interiors of the Tranca wallet a more premium feel. Lastly, for those of you that prefer a more minimalist, slim wallet, the Tranca will definitely suit the bill better as compared to the Regent billfold.
Given that both wallets are about the same price, which wallet is better for you really depends on your personal preferences. I’ll say this – if you’re a heavy-duty user who likes to carry a lot of cards/notes around, the Gnome & Bow Regent Billfold will be better for you. However, if you’re simply looking for a wallet with a distinctive look, and appreciate good leather, the Tresse Tranca wallet should be one of your top considerations.
Conclusion – so Tresse wallets “shiok” or not?
There’s no shortage of homegrown brands making wallets, but in my opinion Tresse makes some of the most distinctive and striking wallets in the local market currently. I really like the woven leather aesthetics, appreciated the artisanal vibes it gave off, and loved the supple sheepskin leather that Tresse uses. At times, it was a conversation starter as well, with numerous people mistaking it for a Bottega wallet – they were surprised to know that the wallets are designed locally, and with a fairly affordable price tag to boot! It’s not the perfect wallet, and if you’re someone with a lot of cards to bring about Tresse products may not be for you. Nevertheless, if it fits your personal preferences, then I wholly recommend Tresse as a brand.
For those interested, you can use the promo code “WAHSOSHIOK” for a whopping 20% off all Tresse products store-wide! After the discount, the Tranca Saddle wallet can be had for just S$108, while the Zhi Whiskey cardholder will cost only S$68. In addition, Tresse also sells a line of vertical wallets, named the Trenza (pictured above). I must say I found the idea of a vertical wallet to be very intriguing, and I think it’s perfect for those of you that wants something even more different from the norm.
View Tresse’s full range of offerings here.
Update: The promo code expired in 2020, and is no longer active.
P.S Do check out the new “Discounts!” page for exclusive discounts for Wahsoshiok readers! More brands will be added very soon – stay tuned!