Urban Essentials – Seventy Eight Percent

From top left, clockwise: Otto briefcase, Agnetha computer case, Gustav messenger and Dimitri satchel.

While everyone has been pining after bags from the Cambridge Satchel Company, I have found a much cooler alternative closer to home. Hong Kong-based accessories brand, Seventy Eight Percent, is the brain child of Israeli designer Shai Levy who moved to the city almost eight years ago. After several years as a product designer creating high-end technical bags for outdoor activities, he launched his own label in 2007 with the mission to combine innovative, high-fashion accessories with form and function.

“I have always travelled frequently and bags play a key role in this experience. As a user I felt that there was a lot that could be done to make bags better. Bags are the most engineered fashion items – they force a designer to deal with multiple functional aspects and at the same time create an object of desire. I enjoy being a fashion engineer,” he says.

The line’s aesthetic is modern, straightforward and refined, with clean lines and proportions. And such they appeal to cool urbanites and professionals who are looking for stylish bags that are functional and versatile. “I like it when the search for functionality and performance lead to exceptional aesthetics. Every detail in these products has a purpose,” says Levy.

Best-sellers include the Back to Old School collection which includes modern versions of the traditional school satchel (US$475 to US$575) made from wax-coated Japanese canvas and tanned Italian leather. Inside you’ll find a very cool “organiser” compartment with several pockets for your iPhone, pens, etc. I also love the fashion-forward colour combinations such as yellow and brown, black and pink and tan/white/black. The smaller Zazie version (US$375) is perfect for women and will never go out of style.

The Harrison Fold collection is inspired by waterproof bags with styles such as the Gustav messenger (US$299) that are closed by rolling or folding the tops, while the attache and computer cases (US$175 to US$225) are so sleek and slim that they could double as oversized clutches.

Coming soon is a collection of carry-on travel bags which are sure to be as lust worthy as Levy’s previous designs.

Seventy Eight Percent can be found online at www.seventyeightpercent.com. A selection of bags are also available at Lane Crawford and Kapok in Hong Kong.

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