My first encounter with the Topo Designs founders Jedd Rose (below right) and Mark Hansen was a perfectly orchestrated meeting over beers that happened completely by chance 4000 miles from home. A few months back I purchased a few items from the Topo online store and really came to love the design and aesthetics. I used the bags a bunch and more often than not people asked me where they came from. Intrigued I followed the guys on Twitter and Instagram and enjoyed the laid back and approachable nature of the company. That feeling came full circle when Mark and Jedd stopped me this week in a bar in Florence after a long day in the hot sun at the peacock friendly menswear trade show that is Pitti Uomo.
At Pitti, Topo was showing off the bags, accessories and some new categories that make up the SS13 collection. The new stuff, specifically camp shorts and a few outerwear designs, continued on with the same great outdoorr-retro design details and aesthetic that has made Topo Designs so likeable in seasons past.
Honestly, the guys from Topo Designers were probably the people I was least expecting to meet in Florence, but it was great to finally get a chance to talk to the people who make some stuff I really like and use. Most of Pitti is comprised of very finely tailored clothing brands, so the bags and gear from Topo Designs was a nice change of place from much of the other collections on hand. (There were actually a few other purveyors of Americana at the show, more to come on that.)
What I find most interesting about Mark and Jedd was the story of what led to the founding of a American-made bag company in Denver, Colorado. The guys both left other professional careers to pair a passion for the outdoors with a desire for making simple gear that functions and looks good at the same time. The goal was to create simple products that work, look good and are made in America. It’s a philosophy that appears to be shared by many others and has fueled the continued growth and admiration for Topo Designs in the States, in Japan and even amongst the sartorial set at Pitti. [Topo Designs]