I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: It is very difficult for me to get excited about menswear and men’s accessories. I think men should look classic: a white button-down shirt, APC jeans, a simple belt and a pair of Chuck Taylors or Stan Smiths and, when they need to dress up, they should just throw on a Thom Browne jacket over what they are already wearing and change into a pair of Lanvin sneakers… or just button up a Gieves & Hawkes suit.
So when my husband’s good friend Jon Passavant told us that he and another one of their friends, Benj Lee, were launching a line of bags for men, we challenged him: “How are you going to make it different?”
But these men are already different. Jon and Benj are both very successful models. You may not recognize their names (Does anyone know a male model by name other than Tyson Beckford?), but you might recognize their faces (here and here).
Both of these men have worked in the fashion industry for over a decade. They’ve seen (and sold) thousands of products, handled these products and inevitably heard comments (both scathing and euphoric) from designers and stylists about the pros and cons of certain things. They’ve had quite a fashion education.
Another thing these gentlemen have going for them is that one is American (Jon) and the other is English (Benj), so between the two of them, they have aesthetics covered: old school prep meets new school classic edge. They both also appreciate things that last, like every good man should.
Both men also have experience with building: Benj has spent many years transforming historic properties, mostly in Central London, into modern yet still classic spaces. Jon is a co-founder of the non-profit Model Home Project which was initially formed to help rebuild New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. All of this came into play when Benj and Jon set out to build and design their bags. One look at the final Passavant and Lee product and you can see that they are well-engineered and architectural in design.
The body of the bag is literally engineered from aircraft grade aluminum. It is then covered in leather from Horween Leathers, an old-school American tanner in Chicago. A flash of metal is left across the top of each bag and closes with a lock that was created in collaboration with Abbey England, a company that holds a stamp of Royal appointment from Her Majesty the Queen.
Put all of this goodness together and you get a bag that is as good-looking as these men are. The No 25 Briefcase looks both old and new, and will undoubtedly withstand the test of time. The bag also happens to look great with a white shirt and a pair of APC jeans.
The briefcase is also incredibly practical, with built-in pockets for everything from your laptop to your pens. If only someone could successfully do this for a woman’s handbag…Benj and Jon, I think I have a new assignment for you!
For more about Passavant and Lee and how to purchase one of their fine briefcases for yourself, click here.