By Ray Zhang
Why have one when you can have two? This is really no dilemma. This Timbuk2 tote is welcome two-bag convenience and joy. Within the tote is inserted a backpack. You can take this out when you need an extra bag to carry, or to leave the tote for milk and stuff, separate from the gym gear in the other.
Timbuk2 is not exactly known for their fashion forward bags. So, I was surprised to see this in their flagship store. It comes in two colours, silver and brown, but it is the colour of Ag that appeals to me. As it turned out (and strangely unknown to the sales staff), this “paper bag backpack” is designed in collaboration with Dave Ortiz and is part of their Brown Bag series. Mr Ortiz is an artist (graffiti), former sneaker store owner (one was called Dave’s Wearhouse, the other Dave’s Quality Meat!), and a street style heavyweight (he was once with Zoo York) who has collaborated with Nike and Vans. While he isn’t as recognised as the one who went to Paris, Mr Ortiz is sought after by brands for his clever take on the mundane.
For Timbuk2, Mr Ortiz started with the brown shopping bag, playing with the almost-standard shape, and the paper’s propensity to crush. So, this version begins with an outer bag that is made of crumpled, coated, paper-like material, while the extra bag fitted inside is a nylon gym sack that comes with three external pockets—two perfect for water bottles. I like the contrast of the colour red. It works like lining. Those who like the underside of their jackets eye-catching may know what I mean.
The way the gym sack fits into the tote is quite clever. Because of the lightness and smoothness of the bag destined for the interior, its removal and refit is easy. Once inside, the attached shoulder straps can be kept within the outer bag so that the final config can be a bona-fide tote, or slipped through a slot in the upper rear so that the tote can be what the Japanese call a two-way bag: it doubles as a backpack. The attention to detail is not shot of impressive: para-cord draw cord (that’s reflective), with attendant plastic tips, and the leather tab to hold the cords together give the twosome those extras that similarly mark a well-accessorised man. I like.
Timbuk2 Dave Ortiz paper bag backpack combo, SGD208, is available at Timbuk 2, Bugis Junction. Photos: Timbuk2