Customised holdalls: Fischer Voyage Prairie bags

A small range of sublimely crafted leather products

If you’re the type of person who suffers an anxiety attack whenever your favourite piece of luggage takes more than a minute to appear on the airport carousel, this bag probably isn’t for you. But if you’re willing to splash upwards of $15,000 on a customised holdall that you can fit neatly into an overhead locker, read on.

The 9lb of richly glowing brass and leather that is the Fischer Voyage Prairie was the brainchild of Chicago based Steven Fischer, who, for more than a decade, has lectured on the subject of fashion and luxury at Northwestern University in Illinois.

A couple of years ago, however, he decided to put his knowledge into practice by setting up Fischer Voyage to create a small range of sublimely crafted leather products made in America by what Fischer believes are the best artisans using the best materials (a claim that is not altogether rare in the luxury goods industry, I think you’ll agree).

In the case of Fischer’s bag, it is a claim that has been studiously followed through. First, he travelled far and wide to find the craftsmen who would be able to stitch it all together, eventually opting to employ leather workers from a remote Amish community where the skills required to make superior saddlery are still practised on a daily basis.

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Fischer then settled on Chicago’s 111-year-old Horween tannery to provide him with the top-quality, chrome-tanned leather for the body of the bag, before tracking down a fourth generation harness maker to form and hand-burnish the substantial leather handles. A blacksmith was commissioned to forge the immensely strong buckles and an artisan metalworker to shape the stainless-steel frames that give the Prairie its shape.

Once the raw materials are assembled, it takes at least a week (depending on specification) to put each 20in x 12in x 13in Prairie bag together. Clients are at liberty to choose everything from the tone of the leather to the colour and style of stitching and the finish of the brass fittings to create their own take on the Prairie bag, which, by its very nature, will mellow and patinate with age to become an entirely unique and highly personal travelling companion.

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And probably one that will stay with you for a lifetime too.

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