Minimum Form. Maximum Function

That’s the motto of one of our favourite new bag brands coming out of New York city, aptly named Bags In Progress. It’s with great pleasure that we are now stocking an assortment of their clobber exclusively in the UK.

Bags In Progress focus is on creating highly functional, lightweight, robust everyday bags, built for practicality whilst at the same time constructed from premium fabrics. These are bags that take cues from the kind of hardwearing tool bags relied on by workers for carrying tools. Whilst obviously being far too nice to carry heavy tools around in, the designs retain a strong element of utility and have been reimagined for practicality in the urban setting.

We spoke to Chi who is behind the brand and found out more about the influences behind key pieces. Let’s take a look…

When did you start the brand, was there an initial inspiration? Were you reacting against a lack of what you wanted to see?

The brand began in 2013 with the simple idea of creating better bags for our lifestyle in our time. Before starting the brand, I loved collecting industrial tool bags (such as carpenter bags), military bags, anonymous vintage bags and using them as my daily bags.  It is just because I liked the designs and functions of them and they were better bags than what’s available in the market.

However, despite the great designs, the measurements and details of old bags were not the right fit for our current needs and so I started to have a strong desire to update and recreate the whole thing. Basically, I started to make bags inspired by great old ideas with all the changes and updates that I wished to make.

I adopted new measurements, refined details and added functions based on our everyday needs.  However, I kept the design simple without any excess (meaningless) details or decorations while it performs with maximum functionalities. I just wanted a better structured and organised bag for everyday use.

In the bags that I create, I always hope to find the perfect balance between the minimalist aesthetic and maximum functions.  And, I often find great ideas in anonymous vintage pieces and industrial tool bags and military bags.

Are any of the items we stock influenced from archived / vintage pieces?

All interior pockets of my bags are inspired by traditional carpenter bags.  The simple idea of pockets touching the bottom of the bag is a common feature in industrial tool bags. They can better perform when the tools are placed.  I consider all bags are our tool bags, so I designed the interior pockets by following that idea of old tool bags.

The way I use webbings of all styles is heavily inspired by military bags.  All straps and webbings are carefully measured and placed in the way each function can highly perform in the field.  By following this concept, I also measure and place all webbings very carefully, so they can better perform in our streets.  I never want to put webbing/straps just because it looks nice.

There seems to be a Japan and US connection at least in their military chore aesthetic and use of materials, what’s the story?

There’s no particular story… I’ve never intended to design in a Japanese way or US way. However, as I was born/raised in Japan and lived in the US for a long time, I guess that it may be natural for my design to reflect the connection between the two.

All products are made in the USA, so I just use the best materials available. But, I guess that I might have used them in a different way unconsciously because of my background from two countries.

What’s coming in the future?

I try to make a few new styles every season that are simple but with a bit of a twist.  I like to design with “travel”  in mind: easier to carry and fun to use.  Lightweight, simplicity and maximum function are the key.

Thanks Chi, we look forward to seeing what comes next!

Check out Bags In Progress on Instagram for further looks behind the scenes.