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Heddels x Winter Session: The Natural Indigo Bank Bag

March 7, 2016

UPDATE: Bank Bags are available for purchase HERE.

A few years ago, when we were still running Winter Session out of our apartment in Chicago, we opened a box from our zipper supplier and were surprised to find a mess of old brass Talon zippers. They weren’t what we had ordered (we thought we were getting a new batch of our standard YKKs), but they were beautiful. The cotton zipper tape was faded from what once might have been a deep teal, and the brass teeth and zipper pulls were in great condition. Though we couldn't use them on our standard products, we considered ourselves in luck and put them away for a rainy day -- or, it turns out, a particularly sunny one.

Fast forward three years and three states over, and here we were sitting in our shop with our friend David Shuck, managing editor of the denim-focused blog Heddels. The zippers were still stashed away under one of our work tables, and outside our shop windows the sun was shining brilliantly (as it does more often than not on Colorado's front range). David was telling us all about the project he wanted to do with us. It was a collaboration to kick off the new Heddels CO-OP product series: limited runs of exclusive products designed in tandem with likeminded brands.

He came to us with an initial idea: a denim zip bag that would hold an iPad and a few daily accessories, along with a requirement: it couldn’t be just any zip bag but had to be a special one that his readers would appreciate. That’s when we remembered the zippers. We brought out the box, ‘ooh’ed and ‘aah’ed at their lovely vintage, and counted: 87 zippers. Perfect for a limited run of very special zip bags. 

Over the next several months we traded phone calls, emails, and chats over coffee, along with sketches, photos and prototypes. In the meantime David got a hold of a roll of very special denim from Cone Mills’ White Oak plant: not only was it selvedge (the holy grail of denim details); it was woven in the USA and dyed using natural plant indigo grown and fermented by American farmers.

Weighing in at a hefty 16oz, the denim was a perfect companion for our meaty Talon zippers. The longer length of the zippers led to a design that had the zipper curve around the bag on one side, inspired by locking bank deposit bags used in the mid-late 20th century. We also borrowed the leather detail from the locking bags and evolved it into a leather coin pouch with a snap (and a custom branded wooden ‘nickel’ tucked inside). 

The result is the Natural Indigo Bank Bag, a handsome and functional pouch that will satiate the most hearty denim obsession and the need for practical functionality simultaneously. We produced a limited run of 85 individually numbered bags, each featuring one of the original Talon zippers along with details that show off the crisp white selvedge of the denim -- and of course, the leather coin pouch. We had a blast working with David and the Heddels team on their first CO-OP project and we're happy to see these Bank Bags go out into the world. 

Scroll down for a behind-the-scenes tour of the process of making the Bank Bag. 

prototyping

prototyping