Deep in the heart of Denver's historic Five Points neighborhood, a group of five artisans and designers are reviving the Western tradition of leather-crafted, rugged goods with Winter Session. Once dubbed the "Harlem of the west," over the years the neighborhood has been home to a thriving jazz and beatnik scene—including stints from Jack Kerouac and Billie Holiday—before falling on rough times up until a recent resurgence.
Winter Session does everything in-house from design to production to wholesaling, but in this case "house" means their storefront and workshop in a building that was condemned for over 30 years. Opting for the highest quality materials and craftsmanship, every piece of each bag, wallet and accessory is carefully sourced and inspected. "Embracing both old and new technologies, we strive to achieve the efficiency of lean manufacturing while embodying the spirit and humility of traditional craftsmanship," says co-founder Roy Katz.
The brand's latest offering, a classic day pack, is a quintessential representation of their aim to combine the classic with the modern. Constructed from heavy-duty 20 oz waxed canvas, vegetable-tanned sturdy leather and American-sourced brass hardware, the bag also offers a padded laptop sleeve, protected from the elements, and as well as a quilted back panel with padded closed-cell foam to keep you comfortable and dry. While these elements may seem commonplace in bag design, few designers integrate them into classically styled and manufactured packs the way Winter Session does.
"We’re constantly revisiting, reworking and refining details, bouncing ideas off of each other and implementing feedback from customers," says Katz. "This kind of flexibility and adaptability is possible because we’re both the designers and the makers of our products, and because we work in such small batches." Keep an eye out for Winter Sessions handmade, refined packs and accessories in stores from Tokyo to NYC or shop online, where the Day Pack retails for $305. If you're in Denver, stop by their workshop to see your bag being made.
Images courtesy of Winter Session