Built to Last:
The Modern Heritage of Troubadour
Photographed by Hanna Tveite
Unable to find a refined yet durable overnight bag appropriate for both business travel and casual getaways, friends Samuel Bail and Abel Samet decided to design one for themselves, delving into the world of high-end leathergoods and partnering with artisan makers who share their obsessive attention to detail. The result is London-based Troubadour, a modern brand named for a medieval bard.
“Our design philosophy is based on performance and simplicity,” says Bail, appraising one of the latest designs—a streamlined tote crafted of soft, papery Italian leather—at The Apartment by The Line in New York. Formally refined, Troubadour bags reveal the innovations of their construction upon use. There is a reason for every detail, from raw-edged piping and internal pockets with elasticated sections to rivet-reinforced straps and chunky brass zippers coated in a protective matte finish.
Samet reaches for a khaki canvas tote made striking by its two-piece design, which makes for a single seam along the leather base and two sides. He fastens the discreet side snaps, instantly changing the profile of the bag. “It’s simple to reduce the size when you need less capacity,” says Samet. “We really enjoy turning our designs of such details into reality.”
We wanted to produce a classic, durable bag that combined performance and style—one you’d happily carry with you for years, one that would age beautifully.Abel Samet, Co-Founder, Troubadour
From a tanner using generations-old techniques to a family-owned Italian company that specializes in legendary zippers, Troubadour’s commitment to craft is unmatched.
With founders from Toronto (Bail) and Boston (Samet), headquarters in London, and production in Italy, Troubadour is already well on its way to becoming a global brand—while remaining true to its commitment to artisan craftsmanship. The company prides itself on working with small family businesses who pass skills from generation to generation. “During our research trips to Tuscany, we were impressed by the extent to which Italian tanneries, zipper manufacturers, and bag makers are constantly seeking to improve their products and working processes,” says Bail, mentioning “secret recipes” for vegetable-tanned leather.
With a name inspired by ancient storytellers, Troubadour is also constantly looking to the future. The original weekenders and totes have recently been joined by a range of small leather goods and belts. Among the designs under development are rucksacks with electro-moulded back panels. “It makes for a super-light, comfortable, and breathable bag that looks clean and professional,” explains Samet. “Our team has been testing these bags over the past few months and loves them. We can’t wait to share them in 2017!”
Explore another chapter in The Stories:
Modern Milliner: In the Studio with Albertus Swanepoel