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Drive By

Carl Friedrik Vallance Slim Leather Briefcase :: Drive By

by , June 2, 2017

Sharp, minimal and head-turning gorgeous, Carl Friedrik’s (formely Oppermann) Vallance Slim Leather Briefcase is a very focused bag with a suave businessman in mind.

Over the past couple of years the London-based Carl Friedrik has been designing an impressive array of luxury leather carry goods. Their bags blend Swedish minimalism with premium European materials which are then handcrafted in Italy. What’s more, Carl Friedrik only sells online which keeps the price for their luxury bags reasonable.

To get a good feel for Carl Friedrik’s Vallance briefcase I’ve been working, commuting and traveling with the bag at my side. Is the Vallance just Carry Candy or is there some substance beneath the sharp lines and colors?

Who It Suits

Someone who wants a luxury, handcrafted briefcase that isn’t going to break the bank. Yes the Vallance costs $354 but this is considerably cheaper than any other bag of its caliber on the market.

Someone who wants a modern briefcase that is going to stand out in a crowd. The bright orange lining of the Vallance attracts attention but I’ve never felt uncomfortable taking this bag into meetings or boardrooms.

Who It Doesn’t

Someone who wants to carry their entire desk to and from work. The Vallance is a minimalist’s bag, only large enough to carry some papers, a phone and small laptop. Also you’re not going to be packing a lunch with this bag.

Someone who wants to be dressing for casual Friday. This is a business briefcase and demands to be accompanied by a suit.

“The Vallance is a minimalist’s bag, only large enough to carry some papers, a phone and small laptop.”

The Good

Simply put, the material and craftsmanship on the Vallance briefcase are stunning. The team at Carl Friedrik has done an excellent job of highlighting where everything on this bag is sourced from, which at this price point I think is important. It’s an impressive source list.

“Simply put, the material and craftsmanship on the Vallance briefcase are stunning.”

Metal buttons made in a 100-year-old German steel factory. Vegetable-tanned leather from a fourth generation tannery in Tuscany. Hand polished zippers from Milan. All put together in Naples. Running my hand and eye over the Vallance there’s not one loose or errant stitch or seam. Tactilely and visually the Vallance is a gorgeous bag.

Then there’s the colors. For this review I chose the Vallance with the black leather and orange lining from a total of seven sharp color combinations that Carl Friedrik offers. These combinations run the spectrum from conservative business colors (black leather with grey lining) to more bold combinations (cognac leather with red lining), all undeniably handsome.

Like the colorways, the layout of the bag is minimal. Very minimal. On the exterior there is a single slip pocket which fits a passport or phone nicely.

Opening up the bag the bright orange interior immediately grabs your eye. On one side there’s a laptop sleeve and a pair of pen holsters. Opposite this is a leather pocket and a second pocket blending in with the lining. It’s basic organization but well laid out. Carl Friedrik doesn’t state what volume the Vallance is but I would guess 5 liters at most. I consider my EDC very pared down, but even so running with the Vallance forced me to take the bare minimum each day. On the plus side the Vallance weighs next to nothing, which is appreciated when carrying it all day.

“I consider my EDC very pared down, but even so running with the Vallance forced me to take the bare minimum each day. On the plus side the Vallance weighs next to nothing, which is appreciated when carrying it all day.”

And then there’s two things that the Vallance does which most other bags miss. First, the zipper on the Vallance will not scratch your electronics when placing them in or taking them out of the bag. Granted the metal zipper teeth have been individually polished but it’s one of those details that goes a long way.

“And then there’s two things that the Vallance does which most other bags miss. First, the zipper on the Vallance will not scratch your electronics when placing them in or taking them out of the bag.”

Second, the Vallance will stand on its own. If I had a dollar for every time I had to prop a bag up against a chair when setting it on the floor… Seriously though, I can just place the Vallance at my feet and it will remain standing, regardless of what’s in it. Bonus points to Carl Friedrik for addressing these two carry peeves.

“Second, the Vallance will stand on its own.”

The Not So Good

Being such a minimalist bag, I’ve only got a few issues with the Vallance. First, my 15″ laptop awkwardly and just barely fits into the bag. And that’s just the computer. I couldn’t fit the charger and external hard drive without feeling like I was pushing the seams on the Vallance too much.

To be fair Carl Friedrik hasn’t claimed the Vallance to be a computer bag, but any business related work that I would be carrying this briefcase for required a laptop.

“Being such a minimalist bag, I’ve only got a few issues with the Vallance. First, my 15″ laptop awkwardly and just barely fits into the bag.”

Second, while the front sleeve is a useful pocket it was always an absolute struggle to retrieve anything I had placed in it. With such a thick piece of leather on the front of this pocket it’s difficult to wiggle anything from it. Something which I would hope to see revised in a future iteration of the Vallance.

“Second, while the front sleeve is a useful pocket it was always an absolute struggle to retrieve anything I had placed in it. With such a thick piece of leather on the front of this pocket it’s difficult to wiggle anything from it.”

Verdict

While I’m not expecting to carry an entire office desk’s worth of carry, or a 15″ laptop for that matter, the Vallance has won me over with its sharp lines, color and ultra minimal organization. Yes it’s definitely a niche business crowd that the Vallance will appeal to. But for those in this niche, the $354 Vallance is an absolute steal for a handcrafted luxury briefcase.

Buy this bag and watch those million dollar deals start rolling in.*

*Not guaranteed by Carryology.

 

The Breakdown

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Geek (Performance)

Space & Access
7
Organization
8
Comfort
9

Style (Design)

Look & Feel
10
Build, Materials & Hardware
10
Features
7

Stoke (Experience)

Warranty & Support
10
Brand experience
8
Value
9
X Factor
9

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