The tote phenomenon has engulfed us whole. Men and women alike have been quick to add these stylish companions to their arsenal for years. Arguably, they make the supermarket better, and road trips become more of a genuine joy. When you’re properly equipped, you’re up for anything. And like a good wardrobe, a good bag can make all the difference.
If you’re in the market for a new travel companion, there’s undeniably some fantastic quality brands to choose from. For us, one brand sticks out in particular, and with their newly released repurposed vintage bag initiative, this becomes all the more evident. From Austin, Texas to León, México, we’re talking about WP Standard.
The Vietnam Story
WP Standard founder, Ryan Barr, recently created a one-of-a-kind repurposed military travel bag made from his father’s original 1969 duffle. In the late 1960s Barr’s father, Tony, was deployed to Vietnam for two years. With him, he took a military duffle bag to house his gear and equipment. When he returned to the US in 1971, he brought the duffle back with him, only it was a bit more worn and thrashed.
For the next few decades, the bag would sit in the family garage, going from Georgia to Florida collecting household items and tools. Barr eventually decided to take the bag with him to New York and later to Austin and México with the idea of repurposing it under true WP Standard fashion.
“Objects are meant to be reinvented and experienced in universal ways,” Barr says. “I wanted to find a way to breathe new life into my dad’s old duffle bag so it could tell stories for another 50 years.”
In León, Mexico, where all of WP Standard’s products are made by hand, Barr met with his artisans to see what they could do. In a small garage workshop near the brand’s factory, he met with local artisan, Armando, who, with delicate precision and skill, carefully deconstructed the original bag and prepared new patterns, keeping the bag’s original rips and tears in prime placements.
Since leather and fabric are set differently, Armando created entirely new patterns for the project and added classic WP Standard luxury features such as brass rivets, D-rings, an inside keychain made from the original military belt, zipper pullers and carts, and long leather straps made in a beautiful olive color to complement the bag’s original pallet.
Founded a decade ago, WP Standard has been crafting handmade luxury leather travel bags and totes since inception. Based in Austin, Texas, the brand most recently created a rare and unique waterproof rough-out suede for their best-sellers, including the PanAm duffle, the Woodward messenger bag, and the Midland backpack,
On their website, Barr published a detailed run-down on how the new repurposed military travel tote was made. Along with it, he announced that WP Standard will be releasing a limited run of similar salvaged military bags in the coming months, collecting contenders from secondhand stores and vintage shops to create unique made-to-order products that each have a story. This one, though, is for him.