Imagine! You drive to your office. You open the door, stick your leg out with Leather monk-straps, hold the door by your hand with a matching watch belt, you get out with a nice navy suit on, that perfectly fits your body and then you take out your office bag and the ladies who were drooling till now just turned around. Why? Oh because your grandpa’s bag just killed it.
So no matter how well dressed you are, no matter how perfectly your suit fit, no matter how effortlessly you pulled off that new trend, they will never call you Dandy, unless you make smart choices with your luggage and accessories.
We had an exclusive interview with Lloyd Rayner, the co-founder of British brand Kurtis Paul, a Successful entrepreneur, who is our new inspiration. Now I know, you’ll all go like, Successful…okayyyy. Inspiration…!!??
Yes!, the founders Lloyd and Kurtis Rayner, who are together since childhood, have donated all of their profits from August 2016 to Christmas 2016. Disturbed by the poverty in Nairobi, Kenya, the empathetic traveller saw his own company as an opportunity to help.
So let’s get to know Kurtis Paul.
Q: When was the company started? How did it start? Tell me something about the founders!
A: The brand was established in 2015 by two brothers, from Manchester, who felt the frustrations of the current luggage market. Being avid travellers we had tried and tested a wide spectrum of the market and found there were generally two classes; the high street where low quality had almost become accepted and the designer brands where most of the costs were nested in the brand name and not necessarily the product. Kurtis Paul challenges this, it is our driving force to create beautiful products at a reasonable price without a compromise on quality. As an example, our recent Canvas Collection is crafted from a super thick 20oz canvas fabric. The market generally uses a fabric between 13-18oz. We chose this material to ensure the collection has a durable longevity and has a build quality we are happy to put our names to.
Q: What makes Kurtis Paul different from the other labels out there?
A: We don’t think of Kurtis Paul as ‘a label’, we stand for much more than a name on a product. Kurtis Paul was created for the sole purpose of providing a solution to a problem, with that problem being the issue of male luggage. We centre everything we do around how we can best answer that problem. For example, Kurtis Paul has the philosophy that products should not be created for product’s sake. An item should fulfil a purpose and be created with intent. This is where Kurtis Paul differs from the market, you can believe that what we are doing has to mean and that by choosing a Kurtis Paul product you can rest assured that time and energy has gone into making sure it is beautifully made.
Q: What process do you go through when you are designing new collection? Where do you get your inspiration from?
A: As I mentioned we start with a problem, this problem leads us into solution mode and from there we start to create design ideas. Take for example the problem of beach luggage, our research said that men need a beach bag that is easy to carry, has a large capacity and doesn’t complicate things. Our problem was how we can make such an item that the modern gentleman would be proud to wear. Once we had a clear direction on the requirements of this bag our team sets into designing alternatives. I would say the design is more of an interactive cycle than anything else, we find that freedom to express eventually leads to the best outcome (and we get some wacky ideas along the way).
In terms of inspiration; much of our inspiration comes from the city we live, Manchester. We love the industrial feel of Manchester and have mimicked this in our designs. Take for instance the fixtures we have used on our bags, we selected a selection of strong, brushed brass fixtures which mimic the industrial machinery you would find in old mills. They are strong, rugged and made to last.
Q: I’ve checked out your official website and it’s quite an eye-candy for leather lovers. Of course, it’s not just leather. Can you tell me about the material you guys use? Where do they come from?
A: We have two primary materials within our ranges, leather and canvas.
Leather: We use a luxurious top grain cattle leather across our Leather Luggage collection and accessories. This finished in two ways, the bags are left with a natural top coat, making them soft to touch. The accessories are coated with a wax. Understanding that accessories see more than their fair share of wear and tear we wanted to ensure they would withstand this abuse.
Canvas: Generally this material isn’t associated with luxury but in the instance of the Canvas Collection we believe we have achieved this. Canvas bags are generally made from a fabric between 13-18oz thick, for this collection we chose to go with a super thick 20oz plain weave cotton. This extra thickness gives the bags a beautiful ruggedness and ensures they withstand the test of time.
Q: What is your opinion about men’s fashion then and men’s fashion now?
A: Men’s fashion has gone through many phases over the past 10 years, in my opinion, we are in exciting times whereby fashion is at its peak. The divide between male and female fashion is fading and this is allowing men to take more pride in their appearance. Of particular interest for me is the return of the idea of ‘the gentleman’, the understanding that a man should be gracious and dress with class. I find it inspirational how men style fashion to suit their personalities, taking an everyday outfit and tailoring it to demonstrate their beliefs, ideas or status.
Q: I’ve seen that you named the bags and they really make me wanna grab them all. Alfred is my favourite. Where did this idea come from?
A: The decision to name our bags was actually driven by something else, we wanted our customers to be part of a journey and to follow the story we are telling. We felt like the best way to achieve this was to provide each bag with a persona, giving them a personality and detail on who would use them and how.
Q: Quick question! Five pieces of fashion every man should have in his wardrobe?
- A nice suit, you can never be overdressed
- Leather jacket
- Dark sunglasses
- Plain white T, for those summer mornings
- A high-quality bag (obviously)
Q: With exploding fashion bloggers on Instagram, there are still some sartorial no-brainers out there. What simple advice would you give them?
A: Simple advice, stick with it. Anything that is worth doing is worth doing right and perfection takes time. The difference between a winner and a loser is the ability to keep going even when you cannot necessarily see the finish line.
Q: At last, we really would like to know what do you think of trendyAlpha?
What I like best about trendyAlpha is the ability to draw many different topics into one place. It really is somewhere for everyone, a place to learn about the latest trends and ensure you are up to date with the fashion world. Great job guys.
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