- Buyer's Guide
8 Experimental Makers That Should Be on Your Radar
There’s a bunch of rad stuff happening in the hidden corners of carry. Individuals and compact teams working away to push the needle. Experimenting with new forms. New fabric plays and pairings. Exciting use of color and texture. And sometimes simply doing what they do for the love of making cool shit.
And so today, we’re moving the lens over the experimental and innovative makers who we respect and follow for inspiration. Because, sometimes, when you’re working away in the hidden corners of carry, you don’t get the kudos and spotlight you deserve.
The Denier Lab is a personal project by designer, Aaron Puglisi, showcasing his experiments in everyday carry. Aaron’s design experience includes softgoods and footwear (and he’s now crushing it over at Bellroy), but these experiments are simply for the love of the art, and are playful design dreams brought to life, not for sale to the public.
His experiments explore everything, from totes and backpacks to pouches and duffels and even multifunctional forms. Aaron isn’t afraid to get experimental with fabrics either, such as applying a waxed coating to X-Pac for a distinct and unique aesthetic or pairing Velcro with climbing harness details to form a bold aesthetic that totally works.
Currently at Experiment 020, we’re always on the lookout for what’s next.
CIMORO builds high-tech, bespoke sportswear and carryable gear. Each limited-edition piece is crafted in London, with an unwavering focus on attention to detail, masterful tailoring and innovative problem-solving. Not surprising when you discover that CIMORO founder Alasdair Leighton-Crawford is a former pro athlete, designer-maker, and tailor trained on London’s prestigious Savile Row. The brand’s avant-garde design approach integrates sport influences, premium craftsmanship, as well as environmentally and ethically sustainable practices, to deliver pieces that are clean, contoured, minimal and super intriguing.
When the love of ultralight hiking culture and street style collide – you get Sulfites Gear. The brand is based in France and was founded by Anthony Rousselle. A maker hell-bent on using technical materials in experimental and playful ways. The pieces feature a range of technical materials such as X-Pac, Dyneema, and Tyvek, while also experimenting with more traditional textiles such as Japanese denim. You’ll also notice a pattern of eye-catching use of color across the pieces with clear windows and X-grids showing out in a good way, in a range of sacoche bags to pouches, waist bags, bike bags, and more.
Whitelabel Designs was founded by Ben Sykes-Thompson. While Ben has a design background in architecture, Whitelabel Designs allows him to explore his creativity with bag design. The brand is based in London and plays all over the carry space, from backpacks and messengers, to shoulder bags and sacoches, using a distinct monochrome color palette.
Ben makes each piece by hand using a variety of materials such as X-Pac, nylon, Tyvek, and waxed cotton. And then experiments in reflective fabrics and a wide use of mesh makes for super interesting offerings. Intended uses range from EDC to cycling and ultralight hiking, with clean silhouettes and modularity common characteristics across the brand’s range.
ADIKT’s not down with every day constructs. In fact, the brand wants to break free of them, and create experiments freely and fully, exploring an addiction to making – and boy is it exciting work!
The figurehead behind it all? Well, it’s John Ly. A carry vet with over 15 years of experience in the outdoor apparel industry. He has served as Design Director for The North Face, VF Corporation, and 5.11 Tactical – and so he knows the rules, and just how to break them.
John creates with a style all his own, experimenting with apparel, bags, and shelter. There’s modularity, category hybrids and remarkable pattern work all at play. And an amalgam of technical performance, streetwear and high-fashion, that’ll keep any designer or design buff circling back for more.
The enigma that is INTERN is a remarkable feat. The founder, only known as Ender, is a mysterious character. Type in ‘Techwear Intern’ into Reddit and you’ll find waves of praise for his techwear creations, then dig deeper and you’ll find questions about his ‘real’ identity. The chatter only creating more mystique for the small brand now operating out of Vancouver, Canada.
In the beginning, INTERN was born from a challenge. One man designing and making a new product each day from scratch over the course of 30 days. Fittingly known as the Techwear Intern across social media back then, his hard work saw him develop an online support base. So much so that by the successful completion of the challenge, supporters wanted more. And so INTERN and INTERN Techwear Corp was born. The former being a brand putting out cutting-edge techwear, the latter being an apparel and accessories design consultancy dedicated to helping clients work with technical fabrics, hardware and design. The team of experimental makers is always on the hunt for industry-leading manufacturing processes and new and exciting technical materials. Plus unique and progressive ways to implement designs that help push industry boundaries rather than offering more of the same.
adjacent studio is a multidisciplinary design studio that focuses on high-performance products and environments. Established by hands-on designer Jessie Croll, the studio embraces experimentation with materials and prototyping. Jessie gets creative with thoughtful solutions to improve the strength of ultralight materials. Not to mention also prototyping outdoor shelters such as the ultralight Hybrid Bivouac – a work in progress that we’re keeping a close eye on.
ARCH was founded by Andrea Perici, and his custom bags and accessories are crafted by hand in Italy, in a level of detail hard to match from brands big or small. ARCH bags show perfect form with quality blends of UL fabrics and colors, nailed patterns and a playfulness that keeps the brand fresh.
While the main focus is on bike bags, Andrea and ARCH also offer bespoke pieces, from backpacks to hip pouches and more, incorporating materials such as 1000D Cordura, X-Pac, and Kevlar worked into finely adapted classic silhouettes, making for delightful results!