Norton of Morton

Read a new instalment of Norton of Morton every Saturday at 4 o'clock

Saturday 27 October 2018

Review: Faire Leather Co

In which G.M. Norton shares with you the ultimate leather goodies.

I’ve felt like Indiana Jones for a while now, searching for my holy grail. But rather than a mystical religious artefact, my holy grail has been to find the bag of all bags. And now, at last, I’ve found it.

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the Bond travel briefcase from Faire Leather Co.  

I’m just going to get straight to the point - this briefcase is simply incredible. I stumbled across it on Style Forum and it was love at first sight.

But before we delve into the delights of this unique bag, let’s start with introductions.

FaireLeather Co are a Singapore company founded by two first class chaps, Joseph Lor and Ryan Choy. Joseph’s father runs Tocco Toscano, a well-respected leather goods company that has been trading for 30 years. 

The idea for Faire Leather all began when Ryan complained to his friend Joseph about not being able to find a briefcase that was capable of carrying all his essential items. After countless sampling and perfecting using the Tocco Toscano factory, the result was the Bond travel briefcase, named after our favourite spy 007.

Joseph and Ryan turned to crowdfunding to get their Bond collection into production. In the end, their Kickstarter campaign became the highest funded project to come out of Singapore, reaching a staggering $406,000. Not too shabby considering the original target was $50,000.


Along with the Bond travel briefcase, I was also fortunate to receive a cardholder with lanyard and a wallet.

Bond travel briefcase

Of course, there are lots of briefcases available, but what makes the Bond travel briefcase so unique is that it is packed with so many pockets and compartments. It boasts not one, but two zipped sections.

The first section has a laptop compartment (for laptops up to 15 inches, I believe), plus two further compartments which can hold a tablet, plus an A5 notebook or a laptop charger. Handily, there's also an area for A4 documents. The zip puller is magnetic so when you've retrieved your things, it is a joy to hear that reassuring click as it secures into place.

The second section, which unzips all the way round so you can access everything, really does have compartments galore. There’s space for pens and pencils, a pair of glasses or sunglasses, wallet, mobile phone, power bank, external harddrive, wristwatch, passport, business cards and lots more besides. If you carry a few cables for things like phone chargers or earphones then you can store them easily using the tab organisers (you can also use it for your laptop mouse). There’s even a clear pocket for loose change or memory cards. Inside the clear pocket are two sleeves to protect your memory card or SIM card. One is frosted the other is leather. That is a really lovely touch. I tend to favour storing away my laptop charger in the slip pocket behind the large zip pocket. This helps to avoid any awkward briefcase bulging. 

The briefcase is available in a variety of colours to suit your style and taste. I went for the dark brown vegetable tanned leather version as I felt this would complement the earth colours that I tend to wear, but also go with navy, grey and black. As well as vegetable tanned leather options, they also offer products in cross grain, which has a texture I admire.  I decided I preferred the smooth veg tanned leather though. In order to reduce the weight of the briefcase considering all the compartments that it has, Joseph and Ryan decided to go for a top grain cowhide rather than the higher quality option of full grain. I think they made the right decision. They put together a blog post on this very subject. 

The lining is in a delightful burgundy colour. This is Faire Leather’s signature colour, so burgundy is the lining colour on all the bag options. Personally, I really like it. No, I love it. Burgundy is a fantastic colour, so rich and pairs well with blues, browns or blacks. 

For me, the hardware is of the highest importance. Faire Leather use a mix of brass and zamak and the zips are YKK. It all gives a feeling of quality. The last thing you want on a briefcase is for the zip to break, but YKK zips are the absolute best available. 

Cardholder and lanyard

I was really pleased to receive the cardholder and lanyard. I have a door access card that I use to navigate around the office and to be quite frank, I had stopped wearing it on a fabric lanyard as it didn't really go with my general look. But a leather lanyard is a different story, adding that all important touch of class.

The cardholder has space for two cards so in addition to my door access card, I've also been storing my driving licence in it, as another form of identification. Of course, this second compartment could be used for a couple of business cards.

What I really appreciate is that the cardholder can attach to a few different places. It can fix to the side of the briefcase, perhaps to act as a luggage tag. It can also be attached to the removable strap and if that wasn't enough, there's also a D ring inside the bag where the cardholder can be fastened to.

Functional luxury at it's best.

Card wallet

Like the cardholder, the wallet also has a special designated place inside the briefcase. The briefcase has a pull-tab slot made especially for this wallet, so you can easily retrieve it when you need it.

As is becoming a recurring theme, the card wallet is expertly designed. It has space for four cards at the front (which have RFID blocking technology), a compartment for cash with a helpful divider and a further slip pocket that could be used for receipts, tickets and the like. Perfectly matching the briefcase, the wallet feels very well made and feels nice and soft. The burgundy lining has been used again, which adds an extra dash of classiness. 

Packaging and presentation

It felt like a real experience unpacking the briefcase and the other leather accessories. The briefcase, wallet and cardholder with lanyard all arrived in lovely individual blue boxes with the Faire logo proudly etched on the lids.

The boxes really add to that feeling of luxury.

The wallet and cardholder with lanyard were a pleasure to open with a certificate of authenticity and protective bags provided. These are perfect items if you're looking for a special gift.

Moving onto the briefcase, the level of packaging was truly incredible. Lifting the lid to the large box, the bag was covered in tissue paper. The briefcase had been carefully stored inside a dust bag and was very well protected with various foam and cardboard. When it first emerged from the dust bag, the white foam covering the briefcase looked a little like a thick layer of snow. And as we all know, snow is magical.

While I'm against wasteful packaging, I feel that the packaging for these Faire Leather products was wholly necessary. After all, these are luxury leather goods that have travelled all the way from Singapore to Blighty so you want them to arrive in pristine condition. This only further demonstrates the care and attention that the Faire Leather Co team have put into every aspect of their business.

I actually made a little video for IGTV, which you can watch over on my Instagram page. There's a link to it on my highlights at the top of my feed.


I've been using my Faire Leather Co products for a couple of weeks now, so obviously, it is still only early days. As this could be described as the 'honeymoon period', I intend to follow up on this review with a further write-up in a few months time so you can see how the products are shaping up.

For the moment, all I can tell you is that my life has been exponentially improved with these products. This may appear like an over-the-top statement, but it is true nonetheless. I can carry all my essentials and more, I feel super organised and they just feel good to use.

How many bags look good on the outside but are a complete and utter mess on the inside, where you need to dig through it to find what you're looking for? With the Bond travel briefcase, there's almost a place for everything.

This bag holds a lot. Laptop, tablet, notebook, pens, glasses, wallet, business cards, mobile phone, keys, cables. Honestly, it is incredible.

The thing to bear in mind is that if you're carrying around all those items, the bag is going to be heavy. That stands to reason - the more you carry, the heavier it is. But despite being obvious, I felt like it's important to point it out. Now, don't get me wrong, it's not unmanageable, but if fully loaded then its not light. Joseph and Ryan put a lot of thought into the briefcase, choosing top grain rather than full grain leather because it's lighter. Personally, I'd rather have all those compartments and have top grain leather than a full grain leather bag that is lacking in storage options.

While I prefer to carry my briefcase by the handles, there are situations where the removable strap is very handy indeed. It's a burgundy colour fabric strap, so presumably the same strap is supplied to all bags regardless of colour. It's quite wide, so feels comfortable to carry the laptop on my shoulder. I can't help thinking though that as I have the matching leather lanyard and leather wallet, wouldn't it be marvellous to have a leather strap? Even if this was sold separately, to have an all-leather briefcase carrying option would be the icing on a very sumptuous red velvet cake. 

As the name would suggest, this briefcase is perfect for travelling. Now, lots of luxury bags have handy slots to allow your briefcase to be slipped onto the handle of a suitcase. But Faire Leather have gone a step further and made the slot double up as a pocket when not in use. Zip up the bottom and it's a pocket, unzip and it can be securely attached to your suitcase. This. Is. Genius. 

Of course, the bag is the star of the show but as the wallet and cardholder work so perfectly in tandem with the Bond travel briefcase, it's a real team effort.

It is a joy to be using such fine leather products. Carrying my briefcase on my walk to and from work, or to meetings, makes me feel ten feet tall. Given my lack of height, that is quite something. When I'm reaching into my pocket for my wallet, it just feels good. I can instantly retrieve the card or bank note that I need. Whenever I encounter a door sensor at the office that I need to press my access card against (I pass four of the blasted things before I reach my desk), to quote Phil Daniels on Blur's Parklike, "it gives me an enormous sense of wellbeing".


The reaction to my Faire Leather Co products has been so, so positive. 

My children both love it. They really enjoyed unzipping the bag and trying out the pull-tabs and enjoying the satisfying click of the magnetic zip puller. 

The grown-ups have also been super impressed. In fact, now I come to think about it, the briefcase elicits a childlike joy in everybody it comes into contact with. The bag makes you look in wonder at all the possibilities, the tidiness, the zen. People I've showed the briefcase to start to talk about what they would use the different pockets for. They imagine having one for themselves.

In fact, my feelings have been so strong for the Bond travel briefcase that my beloved has commented more than once that she's worried I'll leave her for the bag. She needn't worry, of course. My beloved has also said that she'd like one herself - in black.


Faire Leather Co really do live up to their strapline, 'Functional luxury at a Faire price'.

I've been so impressed by the three products I've been lucky enough to receive. I had the pleasure of speaking to Ryan on Skype and he's a really lovely fellow. Excitingly, they have also just released a slim version of the briefcase too, which I'm sure will be just as successful as the travel briefcase. 

G.M. Norton
Protagonist of 'Norton of Morton'

1 comment

  1. Now that really is a top-notch briefcase!! Very smart and they seem to have thought of everything. You'll have to take good care of it, no putting it on the floor on public transport!! (I terrified my husband with a loud shriek the first (and last) time he put an expensive bag of mine on the floor). Enjoy it, it should only improve with age x


Blogger Template Created by pipdig