- Buyer's Guide
5 minutes w/Wheelmen & Co
Wheelmen & Co come from strong cycling bloodlines stretching back to the late 1800?s and aim to create functional, durable accessories and apparel using classic lines and styles reborn for the 21st century. We got to spend a few minutes with Wheelman founder, Bradford Ryan Riedell and chat about what his thoughts are on the industry at the moment, where Wheelman is heading and who he thinks is doing rad stuff in Carry…
1. What key insights drive your stuff (what have you realized that others haven’t) ?
Not having to choose between form and function. We live in a modern world but want a sensory connection to the accessories we carry with us throughout the day. And so we are driven to create the things we want or need that aren’t currently in the market. This often relates to a material or an element deriving from classic design that has not yet been translated into the modern world of carry.
Since our start, Wheelmen has released products that promote a rebirth of traditional looks – what we call the American Heritage lifestyle – that has since become a movement. We see it in everything from Gentleman Haircuts to Gentleman Drinks or speakeasy bars popping up. The return of well-made vs. mass-produced. We continue to strive to exemplify that concept. Wheelmen is bringing back the Golden Age of Travel to meet our contemporary needs.
2. Who else is doing rad things in the world of carry? Could you elaborate on those things (functions/features, technology, philosophy, materials, etc), and why you think they’re important?
I can’t say I’m very impressed by what’s out there at the moment. It’s all mass-produced high-tech, high-concept “gear” that has no human feel, or at the other end of the spectrum hand-made craftsmanship that doesn’t meet the needs of the modern laptop-and-tablet toting traveler. We think it’s possible to combine organic materials with high-tech needs.
3. Are there any things other brands do that you think are crap? Common mistakes that drive you nuts?
Yes, of course, I think there are other brands that are complete “crap”. I know different people think differently, but here’s my take on it: any brand that continues to put out quick, poorly made, “what’s trending at this particular time only” products is crap. People want the best-made product they can afford in these times and I don’t respect brands that are smoke and mirrors in terms of look vs. quality.
4. What’s next for you guys?
You will see Wheelmen always stick to its style and look, but you will see even more edgy/functional products. Our motto has always been “Classic Tailoring : Modern Function” and we will be flipping that in the coming seasons to: “Modern Function : Classic Tailoring”. Introducing more technical hardware and fabrics. Styles that reshape what you think of as a bag (see our SS14 Calf Sling Bag in the pic above). We are entering a women’s/unisex market and you will see us carried by many more retailers.
5. What do you carry daily (and how)? Share a pic?
As the founder of Wheelmen & Co. I usually am running product prototypes. I look for the pros and cons in every one of them and make changes to perfect them for release. I currently carry two bags: our “York” full Calf Leather Rolltop Tote available here and our unreleased “Overman” Duffle X Backpack. (See below for the Duffle and the top photo of Bradford with the Rolltop Tote)