Editors’ Pick: OKV Bags

Does the fashion market need another handbag line? Well, that depends on who you talk to. Though the women’s handbag market is flooded with a plethora of handbags, from Kate Spade, Coach, Michael Kors to Bottega Veneta, Gucci, and Chanel—all well known handbag lines—the men’s bag accessory market has room for niche brands that can target specific consumers.

Wayne Mayers of OKV handbags is attempting to fill that niche. “The men’s handbags market still lags way behind women’s handbags. I recognized that I could fill a niche in the men’s handbag market. I think a handbag itself is so iconic and can denote luxury. If you look at old movies, having a great bag is a status symbol,” explains OKV creator Wayne Mayers.Self-taught and passionate about fashion, Wayne Mayers, through trial and error came to understand that men’s handbags was to be his creative d’oeuvre and tour de force. “When I first had the idea to pursue a career in fashion, I started sketching sweaters and jeans. I noticed from the sketches that every element I sketched had an element of leather in it. I began to understand that I loved and was more engaged in leather than having a garment line. I had to decide which direction I was going in. And ultimately I settled on handbags,” details Mayer.

Designed in Toronto, Canada and produced in the Tuscany region of Italy, OKV’s collection of men’s leather bags and accessories are handmade using the artisan tradition of natural tanning, reducing the carbon footprint of the textile industry, while joining quality craftsmanship and tradition to create a unique product. Mayer contends, “a quality leather bag is an iconic and staple piece in any wardrobe and I want to introduce the world to a quality crafted product, without the environmental stress of traditional leather production.” 

Still, finding market traction is an arduous task in a market where name recognition is so important and many burgeoning brands fall by the wayside due to manufacturing costs and market contraction. Mayer is not daunted by the statistics and is primed to bring an ethically friendly, worker-friendly product to male consumers. “My plan is to demonstrate that we go straight to the source and we are extremely ethical, making sure our workers make a living wage. The quality of our bags is top of the line. Unlike women, who usually have several handbags, male consumers may have one or two great bags, so quality is very important.”

For its debut collection, Mayer is producing six bag styles. This six-piece collection has something for almost every guy, ranging from a duffle bag, and a weekender to a backpacker and a workbag. “Our style of bags are the most used styles by male consumers,” admits Mayer. “Our demographic travels often, so our weekender and duffel bag is great for travel. Our customer is usually a city dweller, so we have a workbag or a business bag for that guy. We have a marsupial that is OKV’s version of a fanny pack. And coincidentally, fanny packs—which reference the 1980s—are on trend right now. Our marsupial, or fanny pack, is so unique because rarely do you see a leather-structured fanny pack on the market.”

                 All images courtesy of OKV

All OKV products are tanned using fruit pods, leaves and tree bark to create a luxury line of leather goods designed to be durable and age with perfection.  Inspired by street style and vintage luxury craftsmanship, OKV’s designs incorporate chic and classic elements while paying close attention to detail to create a cohesive collection of top-quality men’s bags and accessories. “Primo Edition” styles include: hold all ($1350 USD), tote bag ($800 USD), rucksack ($1050 USD), belted satchel ($550 USD), wallet ($250 USD) and cardholder ($160 USD).—William S. Gooch

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