Preparing for any holiday can be stressful, particularly when one is busy in the days leading up to the trip or when things may not be sticking to script. This was the situation that I found myself in, when a few days prior to a trip that I had scheduled to make to New York for Fashion Week, my previous backpack began to break.
As an aesthete myself, I have to admit that I did consider the story that I could structure around making use of a worn accessory, especially in a climate that is ostensibly sticking two fingers up to ‘fast fashion’ in favour of realising the true value and potential of one’s clothes. Ultimately, this was balanced against the importance of utility and safety which, in the end, I decided were far more important in a foreign country from a practical perspective – regardless of the number of times that I had visited the place.
Beginning my search for a new bag that was as useful as it was fashionable, I put out a call on social media which was met with a number of recommendations. Of the responses, the brand that really stood out to me was High Spirit Bag, a brand aptly borne in 2013 from a trip that its founders made to New York.
Once my High Spirit bag arrived within a few days, I made immediate note of the balance that had been struck between style and practicality. The use of black ribbed ostrich leather for the body of the bag was complemented by a reflective gold branded emblem which was embossed on the outer panel of the bag located on the opposite side to the bag’s straps. The zip was located on the panel of the bag that rests against one’s back, rather than the default position across the top of the bag. Amazingly, this was not something that I had seen before.
I found the attention to detail on every level highly impressive and decided that I had to speak to the brand to find out more. Find out what the designers had to say below.
Interview[Who is High Spirit Bag and who is behind it?]
“High Spirit Bag is a travel accessories company based in London. We create stylish anti-theft backpacks to protect the user from loss and pickpockets while they travel. The company was founded by two brothers, Joshua and John Okungbaiye, raised in Hackney, London and very passionate about businesses that help people and make their lives better.“[Where is the Name ‘High Spirit’ from?]
“The Name ‘High Spirit’ comes from the sense of freedom you get from travelling and it captures the excitement and positivity you feel when you are about to travel somewhere. Even if your flight is delayed, you are still happy, because you know that you are going somewhere exciting.“[What inspired you to start the brand?]
“My brother and I are very close and we enjoy travelling together. We visited New York for the first time. Before going out to explore, someone at the hotel warned us of pickpockets. When we went out to explore the city we noticed tourists were wearing their backpacks on the front. We thought this looked a bit silly and it made obvious to pickpockets that they were made a prime target for theft, as tourists are usually unaware of subtle threats when they visit new countries and cities.“
“While we were in the taxi, John came up with the idea to put the zip behind the bag to hide the opening from any thieves. I thought that the idea was too simple and I assumed that the idea was done already. Upon arriving from New York, we did our research and found that it had not been done. We then decided to patent and protect the idea, which we did successfully.
We then wanted our anti-theft bags to be stylish and practical, so we brought a stylish design element to our bags to fuse together fashion and security in our bags.“[Please explain more about the patented technology?]
“The patented zip is basically a zip opening on the back panel of the bag. There are no outer zips or openings on the bag. The only access to the bag is through the back-panel of the bag. This ensures that the opening is hidden and secure and also protects your stuff from loss and pickpockets while you walk about in crowded areas and travel.“[Where do you source your material from?]
“We source most of our material from London. Occasionally, we source our material from other parts of the World, if we want to get rarer colours and textures for our customers.“[What’s next for the brand and where do you see yourself in five years?]
“In terms of the brand, we aim to have a more physical presence next year. This will be in the form of pop ups, being stocked in stores around the World, and events in order to give people a chance to have a physical experience of the brand.
In five years we see ourselves running a global company with other stores in London, New York and Japan.“
Photography by David Elikwu