- Buyer's Guide
5 minutes with RIOKAIRYU
There’s a lot to be said for a functional bag…but sometimes the focus is so much on functionality that the visual appeal gets left behind. “Boring” isn’t however in the vocabulary of South Korean brand RIOKAIRYU. Their bags boast distinct silhouettes that will have you doing a double take. Practical design is still present, just served up with a generous helping of exciting urban aesthetics that keep the style cats looking sharp in the city. We grabbed five minutes with the brand to discover their insights, inspirations and what’s on the horizon…
What key insights drive your brand?
There are a few keywords we associate with our brand: unique, masculine, urban lifestyle.
Unique design is very important for us, especially a small brand like ours. There are a lot of bags in the world market, so we have to design unique ones for survival. We don’t have enough budget for marketing, so our marketing is just design. That’s why we show upgraded versions every year. It’s also for survival. We want to continuously evolve so our brand will have durability.
“Unique design is very important for us, especially a small brand like ours. There are a lot of bags in the world market, so we have to design unique ones for survival.”
Second, our concept is masculine. It is the base of our design. Material, shape, color…we alway think about masculine style because basically we are a man’s bag brand so most of our customers are guys.
Lastly, we design our bags for customers who live an urban lifestyle. We want our products to permeate their lifestyle.
Who else is doing great things in the world of backpacks and why do you think they’re important?
I can’t choose just one or two brands. There are many great brands and backpacks. Côte&Ciel is one of my favorites. Their bags are very unique. They are good at making natural forms with fabric that are a really good match with apparel.
Every single brand has their own concept. I respect it.
Are there any things other brands do that you think are great or could be improved?
YURT, a Korean brand. They use vegetable-tanned leather and their bags are unique and high quality. The bags’ structures are simple but beautiful in shape. When I see those bags, I feel that they know about bag processing, so their design is efficient.
I actually studied handling leather for a while at their studio because I want to use leather more when I design our bags. They combine design and master craftsmanship.
“Every single brand has their own concept. I respect it.“
Most of our bags are for men, so when women want my recommendation I recommend YURT bags or HENRY BEGUELIN.
I think only some brands have their own sensibility of what is great. I think HENRY BEGUELIN and YURT are two of them.
What single product are you most proud of and why?
It’s the HEXA backpack. The HEXA was released in 2011 and this backpack made our style, our design base. Also it’s our flagship model and until now the best-selling model. It doesn’t have special storage or space, but enough to carry your essentials and a laptop.
Basically many people think that a bag is more a functional thing than cloth and they tend to put too much weight on the function. We give weight to the style and we can find another solution. I think a bag isn’t just a functional piece of kit. It is also a style item.
What’s next for RIOKAIRYU?
We are getting ready for rebranding this year. We have a few separate divisions. A more popular and inexpensively priced division, a more unique and reasonably priced divison and the last division for things we want to showcase.
“I think a bag isn’t just a functional piece of kit. It is also a style item.“
Our brand is restarting now. We will reform the real brand and we have to study more.
What do you personally carry daily and how?
Usually I use a small bag…it’s a pouch. I love to drive, so I just need a pouch. It is enough for me. I put big things in the car. Inside the pouch is nothing special, just a schedule note and document with a small pen and pencil, and I carry an iPhone too.