Culture

Maxx & Unicorn Bi-Fold Wallet

by , May 8, 2010

Styling slim wallet

This is a short post about a wallet. But a really nice wallet, that we’ve loved for ages.

The Maxx & Unicorn Bi-Fold wallet comes from a young Brooklyn designer who makes really interesting accessories.  His carry items all have an innovative twist – with the wallets usually made from a single folded piece of leather.

You can get the Bi-Fold in a large variety of colors and leather treatments, with most of them produced in pretty low runs.

They’re available at Alter, Supermarket, and a bunch of other nice boutiques.

Or if you’d prefer to buy what we think is a ‘remarkably similar’ design, there’s always the Woolrich wallet that looks almost identical and is more expensive to boot.

Note: If we got this wrong, and this was in fact designed independently, please let us know. We checked with Alter, and they also believe that Woolrich has ‘borrowed heavily’.

—–

UPDATE

If you don’t read the comments on Carryology, you often miss out on some really rich dialogue. In the case of this wallet, we now know that Woolrich did indeed copy the Maxx & Unicorn. And we have also discovered a design used amongst leather workers for many years that is most probably the inspiration for the Maxx & Unicorn wallet. Here are some pictures from a 2003 journal kindly provided by one of our readers Peter (an avid leatherworker).

  • http://maxxandunicorn.supermarkethq.com Maxx

    There is no doubt about it , this design was certainly “borrowed” down to the stamp placements and “handmade” claim…however the quality of the M&U wallet is much better and an the price more reasonable.

    Maxx & Unicorn originated this unique single die cut bi-fold wallet design in 2006 and has been producing them out of their Greenpoint, Brooklyn studio by hand ever since. The good people at Woolrich have acknowledged their infringement and agreed never to produce another M&U knock-off.

    Most people do not know but you can personalize an M&U bi-fold with and embossed monogram at http://maxxandunicorn.supermarkethq.com.

    • http://www.bellroy.com ando

      Thanks loads for your response Maxx.

      Human progress has been built on us learning and being inspired by ideas that have gone before us, but outright knocking off is a very different response. We’re stoked for you that they have agreed to cut this style.

      It’s odd coming from a company that is so well known for their distinctive jackets (like the Arctic Parka), lets hope it was just an errant designer trying to cut corners.

      We hope those super creative wallets of yours keep coming,
      Ando

  • Peter

    Originated? Who is borrowing heavily?
    This is a no lace leather wallet by Beau Brummell that leather workers (including myself) have been making and selling for years! The pattern has been adapted slightly from the original, but it is basically the same.

    Please, let’s be honest. How can you slap Woolrich when you yourself “borrowed” and not give credit? I would attach a copy of the original if it were possible, but I don’t see anywhere on how to do so.

    Peter

    • Ando

      Peter, that sounds really interesting. Send us a shot at blog@carryology.com and we’ll post it up.

    • http://proporzionedivina.blogspot.tw/ Bevin

      Dear Peter,

      Thanks for exposing Maxx & Unicorn’s hypocrisy. This sort of sanctimony over “IPR” is more common than most people realize.

      In fact most of our modern assumptions about the “sanctity of intellectual property” are hogwash.

      As Thomas Jefferson astutely noted, “If we have right to use three things separately, I see nothing in reason or in the law, which forbids our using them all together. A man has a right to use a saw, an axe, a plane, separately; may he not combine their uses on the same piece of wood? He has a right to use his knife to cut his meat, a fork to hold it; may a patentee take from him the right to combine their use on the same subject… Inventions then cannot, in nature, be a subject of property.”

      Thomas Jefferson knew a thing or two about the nature of human rights. His observation about “IPR” applies equally to a piece of leather as they do to a piece of wood.

      If anyone is interested, Google: “Molinari institute Anti-Copyright Resources”

      As Mark Twain quipped, “It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.”

    • http://proporzionedivina.blogspot.tw/ Bevin

      Dear Peter,

      Also, “borrowing heavily” is not limited to goods.

      Few people know that the melody for the Marine Corps Hymn “From the Halls of Montezuma” was “stolen,” to use the terminology of copyright advocates, from the “cheese-eating surrender monkeys.”

      As John Philip Sousa, composer of “The Stars and Stripes Forever” noted, “The melody of the ‘Halls of Montezuma’ is taken from Offenbach’s comic opera, ‘Genevieve de Brabant’ and is sung by two gendarmes.”

      Yet the Marine Corps had the chutzpah to copyright the song on 18 August 1919. In all these years has anyone challenged the USMC on their “IPR theft?” No? Welcome to the ugly reality of “IPR.”

      Maxx and Unicorn are you listening?

    • http://proporzionedivina.blogspot.tw/ Bevin

      Stumbled across this online interview with Nathan Gryszowka of Maxx & Unicorn, who openly admits he did NOT invent the design he claims IPR to.

      Nathan Gryszowka launched his line in a day. He uncovered a wallet from the forties at a Williamsburg, Brooklyn, antique shop, better known for Asian furniture than men’s accessories.

      He was so intrigued by the design of it —it was much more like origami than your standard, stitched-up bi-fold—that he decided to try to replicate it, imparting a little modern sleekness that the source material lacked and crafting his piece from a single piece of skin.

      “My original [sic] wallet happened overnight—it was kind of the product of insomnia,” Nathan recalls. “I showed it to Shana Tabor, the owner of In God We Trust, which is just around the corner from my apartment, and it was for sale in the store in like 48 hours.”

      Thomas Jefferson insisted that there is nothing wrong with doing this. I agree.

      What is wrong, is doing it, but then getting “The Government” to prevent others from doing the same thing you did.

  • http://www.sidonieyang.com Shawn @SIDONIEYANG

    It’s sometimes a little hard to come up with totally new ways for certain simple things, is it not?

    But, let’s at least admit that Woolrich has enough integrity to admit that they did something wrong, and have agreed to stop doing it.

    • http://www.bellroy.com ando

      Yep, totally agree. Especially considering even design greats like Paul Rand would say “Don’t try to be original, just try to be good.”
      For us, we like the idea that ‘taking inspiration’ only feels bad when you try to pass someone else’s insights off as your own. If you’re open about inspirations, then it can feel more authentic.

  • Joe

    I just received this wallet yesterday after ordering it from Hickoree’s. I usually don’t write reviews or leave comments, but I wish that before buying this there had been some thorough reviews of the wallet. I hope this helps prospective buyers feel a little more informed before making a final decision.
    If $88 bucks isn’t much for you, then you’ll most likely enjoy this item; if it is a lot for you, or if want value for your money, then chances are you might be a little disappointed with this piece. It’s a pretty small wallet, smaller than most–just big enough for about 8 to 10 cards and some bills. It’s definitely study and well assembled, but it doesn’t feel substantial like some other heavier wallets I’ve had. The leather is very nice, though it scratches easily. I’ve only had it for a day, but to be fair, I think it will wear nicely. For $88 bucks, though, there are better deals on the market. You’re really paying for the brand and the novelty of the folded one-piece design. If that floats your boat, then it’s probably worth going for.

  • michael

    Hey guys,

    just looking to buy a new wallet and came across this site. I love these vintage wallets, but I have got to say I have found an even more awesome one made by bond and knight in England, my mate had one made for him with his own art work printed in it and it looked f-ing cool. at £65 or so i reckon I am gonna get one, folded design sort of thing from what i can see but all personalised.

    bondandknight.com

    • james

      Mike,

      I have got one of bond and knights. Yeah they personalise everything for you if you ask. I have one of their pinup ranges as I am a big fan of one of their pinup artists they use.

  • http://www.maxxandunicorn.com Maxx

    Maxx&Unicorn Co. will aslo personalize any wallet with bought at http://www.maxxandunicorn.com totally free..
    They are only $88 and are Handmade in Brooklyn, NY – and guaranteed for life… personally I am partial to the M&U wallets but that mightbe because I make most of them myself!
    Maxx

    • michael

      Hi max

      I didn’t know you could personalise it, do I have to ring you to get one?

      Mike

  • http://www.maxxandunicorn.com Maxx

    Hi Mike,
    You can just log onto thewebiste;
    http://www.maxxandunicorn.com
    Place an order and click on the “Have a question?
    Send maxx&unicorn co. No.43 a message” button to specify your momogram details.
    Best maXX

  • Marc

    Hi Guys,

    I really need to get my hands on a Maxx & Unicorn Bi-Fold Wallet in brown but I’m having trouble finding any resellers that have it in the UK.

    Can you point me in the right direct so I can get on as soon as possible?

    Cheers,
    Marc

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