- Buyer's Guide
5 Minutes with SSCY
Creation through necessity is the name of the game with Brooklyn-based SSCY. The brand’s carry is designed with the purpose of serving needs that weren’t previously catered for or alternatively improving on existing carry solutions, rather than saturating the bag world with more of the same. With our attention hooked by the Tack Sling, a thoughtful approach to hauling oddly-shaped items, we caught up with SSCY to dig down into what makes them tick…
What key insights drive your stuff?
Innovation. Trying to fulfill needs and solve problems that we are encountering and/or others haven’t addressed. It’s more fun and exciting for us to try and make something new. We like to invent and problem solve, and coming from a fine art background inventing is the most fun for me.
Who else is doing rad things in the world of carry and why do you think they’re important?
Well it seems like much of the bag game has actually matured a lot in the past few years along with men’s fashion, so most everyone is an ingredient in the steaming pie of radness and part of the evolution. For me, sometimes it’s less about a brand than a particular bag, detail, or design.
Some people might roll their eyes but the recent Louis Vuitton collaboration had some fun and interesting concepts at play. Those pieces are obviously working with different goals than we are. I particularly liked Rei Kawakubo’s cut up tote. And how can you not love Karl Lagerfeld’s punching bags? I am an artist as well, so I like the weird and the critical.
Are there any things other brands do that you think are great or could be improved?
I’ve used the large Ortlieb messenger backpack for a long time, long before I ever had the idea to start a bag brand. That bag is a real workhorse and I’ve put that bag through hell and it’s held up pretty well for all the abuse. I can’t say my shoulders, back, or neck has appreciated it or held up as well though.
Everyone has room to improve, even the great ones. The challenge is always the right mix of craft, material and cost. And there are limits to the materials themselves. There are always trade-offs depending on your goals and audience.
The biggest thing is that everyone has different needs and uses for their bags, so we try to keep ours open and simple and not prescribe how it should be used or what goes where.
I will say that the most elegant and interesting closures can be found in women’s handbags.
What’s next for you guys?
We’re always thinking about how to improve our current products and we have new ideas for bags and accessories in the hopper. Obviously, we can’t reveal anything, but for now we just want to keep trying to make something different, clever, and useful.
What do you carry daily and how?
Muji pen/pencil combo – My favorite writing tool. Not expensive and the mechanical pencil tip can retract so no puncturing bags or flesh. I prefer writing and drawing in pencil. I like the resistance and how it slows down everything. The pen is good for everything else like signing checks.
Muji notepads – They are thin and the right size for your pocket and have a nice durable cover. I prefer the stitched/stapled kinds because they can take more abuse and still open and close unlike spiral bound. The red is for art/writing and the navy is for the brand.
Muji pouch – It’s good for containing all the essentials and easy to transfer to other bags.
Keys and carabiner – Every day before I close my front door I repeat the mantra “cell phone, keys, metro card.” Right now I have three sets of keys: the apartment, the studio, and the Center for Book Arts where I am also an artist in residence.
Winter Check wallet – It is minimal and keeps the wallet as thin as possible. Particularly useful now that pants are so fitted. I wish I had invented this.
Tape measure and multi-tool – I don’t use it that often, but when I need it it’s been very useful. The multi-tool was from my niece, but I think her parents bought it and she just gave it to me. I also knew the actual guy from the film 127 Hours. Knock on wood.
iPhone headphones – I listen to a lot of podcasts. There’s a lot of knowledge and wisdom out there for the taking and easy to listen to while doing other stuff with your hands. The red cord holder was also from my niece, but again I think it was her parents. Another great idea.
White jade necklace – It is the only piece of jewelry I have ever worn. My mother gave it to me when I turned 18. I only ever took it off to replace the necklace, which used to be a red string until I nearly lost it for a second time. Now it is on titanium, simple, easy, and strong.
Leather wallet – It contains my metro card and business cards. My good friend Shu made it for me when I visited her in London while she was studying to be an accessories designer. I love items that have a real story.
Ear plugs – I’ve just recently realized how sensitive I am to noise when I sleep and how much better I sleep with ear plugs. I bring these everywhere so I don’t have to remember them when I don’t sleep at home.
Tack Sling – This is our newest tote that converts to a backpack. People wanted a smaller and more compartmentalized bag. It has a center open sling that’s great for carrying larger packages and other odd-shaped or dirty things that all us city folk have to randomly carry in a day.
Reading material – I always bring something to read on the train, whether it’s a good book, magazine, or the New York Times. It helps calm me and it’s a good use of idle time on the subway, especially when it’s late at night or delayed. I still like paper. It can’t break, it’s easy on the eyes, and no one wants to rob me for it.
Mints – We have all sat down with someone with butt mouth on occasion and I don’t want to be that guy. Bad breath is very distracting.
Tissues – I think the reasons are obvious.
iPhone – It’s the closest thing I’ve had to an assistant. If only it did QuickBooks, mopped, and gave massages…