Everyone at MacCase is buzzing about the 10th anniversary of our Premium Leather Collection. No MacCase model stands as a testament to the long-term success of this venture than our Premium Leather Messenger Bag. Part of the original line launched 10 years ago, the leather Messenger Bag has recently had its first update. (It took long enough huh?!) This post is going to cover the changes to this venerable stalwart of the MacCase leather line

History of the Leather Messenger Bag

A leather messenger bag was included in the original Premium Leather Collection launched 10 years ago because the nylon messenger bags that were part of the MacCase lineup were such a hit. One of the ideas behind the leather line was to "knock ourselves off". Take the most successful bags, cases, and sleeves we were making in nylon, copy them in the nicest leather we could find, and see what happens. 

Well, the response was overwhelming and we've never looked back. To separate the leather models from the nylon ones, the leather version of the messenger bag was christened the Premium Leather Shoulder Bag. Shoulder Bags tend to be a bit more upmarket and upscale vs. their messenger counterparts so the name change made sense. And it still does. Until you do some keyword research and realize that so many more people are searching for messenger bags than shoulder bags. So the name has evolved over the years. 

Leather Messenger Bag Details: Sticking With What Works, or Doesn't

Our leather Messenger Bag is sort of the jack of all trades of our leather line. It can do it all. Want to use it as an overnight bag? It can do that. Want to take it to the gym? It can go there. Want to bundle it with a matching MacBook Pro or iPad Pro Sleeve and make an incredible laptop bag out of it? It excels at that too. A friend of mine used to take his camping. Seriously. It's one versatile piece of design. 

As the years have passed several small issues have come up that the design staff at MacCase have always wanted to address. Customers would often ask for a handle so the bag would be easier to pull out of an overhead bin or out of the backseat of a cab.

Strangely, this detail was left off initially because the MacCase nylon messenger bags have always had this feature, yet it didn't migrate to the leather line. As someone who has used the bag often, I can see the reason why the customers were clamoring for a handle to be added. 

Close up of the old buckles used on the MacCase leather messenger bag

The second niggling issue with the leather Messenger Bag was the closure. The original design utilized a set of brushed, stainless steel finished, side squeeze buckles. They looked beautiful and added just the right amount of sparkle to the design. While many of us are familiar with the excellent plastic side squeeze buckles found on sporty backpacks, when executed in metal, some of that smooth functionality was lost. So the buckles, while looking great, were cumbersome to use in certain situations. 

When I brought these issues up with MacCase Chief Creative Officer Michael Santoro he told me that it came down to a matter of time and execution. When I pressed him for an explanation, he told me that the last ten years have been "flat out" regarding work in the design studios. Flight Jackets, iPad cases, bags, folios, a vertical briefcase, and then the largest design initiative in the companies history for the iPad Pro, didn't leave time to address the concerns with the leather Messenger Bag. 

Leather Messenger Bag: Something Old, Something New

Once the iPad Pro models were completed though, work began in earnest to improve the design of the leather Messenger Bag. Just in time for its 10th birthday. The handle was addressed and added to a location that was both functional and didn't destroy the long-term integrity of the structure of the bag, or the leather. MacCase's Premium Leather Briefcase uses a fully structured design which allows for the body of the case to bear all the stress without affecting the integrity. 

The leather Messenger Bag uses a much more organic structure created by the layers of quality foam, liners, and the hide itself. It's structured but soft-sided at the same time. Putting the handle in the wrong place could have put stress on this structure and stretched and distorted the leather over time. This was seen in the many prototypes that were tested. Eventually, a location was found that allowed for the handle to function as the customers were asking while having zero effect on the integrity of the bag. 

The new leather Messenger Bag from MacCase shown in Vintage

As for the metal side squeeze buckles, well their time had come. With the advent of solid-state drives in most laptops, magnets, which were heretofore forbidden near spinning hard drives, could now be used to create a much more elegant and superior functioning closure system. 

The new magnetic closure is so easy and fun to use. It's silent and the leather Messenger Bag can now be opened and closed with one hand from any angle. This improvement was a long time coming but definitely worth the wait. 

The Leather Messenger Bag, Another Ten Year On

So many of the designs produced by the laptop case industry are designed to be trendy and have planned obsolescence. The poor quality of so much of what is being produced guarantees that most of the cases will not last longer than the laptops and or tablets they are designed to carry. This is unfortunate. And this is certainly not the case at MacCase. 

Having a design continue to sell well enough to keep it in constant production for 10 years running is an exceptional achievement. This speaks to two key aspects inherent in all MacCase products: Quality of design and quality of materials and manufacturing. 

An original 2007 MacCase Premium Leather Messenger Bag still going strong

So many of the original Premium Leather Shoulder Bags that were sold as part of the 2007 launch are still in the field. They are still performing day in and day out for their owners. We know this because we did outreach and received photos from all over the world of customers and their leather shoulder bags with the dates they purchased. 

 With the new improved design comes a recommitting to continue to produce the best products we can. We hope to see all the leather messenger bags we are shipping now still in the field in 2027. Who knows, there may even be a few pieces from 2007 still kicking around in 2027!

 "Our leather Messenger Bag is sort of the jack of all trades of our leather line."

Jody K. Deane
by Jody K. Deane January 31, 2017

Leave a comment

Please note: comments must be approved before they are published.