ACL & Co. x J.Crew | Canvas Coal Bags

My pal Sullivan and I grabbed our bikes yesterday and took a recon mission to see my newest collaboration in store – at one of my favorite stores. Just landed at J.Crew (Liquor store, 484 Broadway, East Hampton and online) are two special canvas coal bags made under my own ACL & Co. label by old-school American maker Dandux. They make a great summer bag and will last you a lifetime. The small tote with carry strap is designed for using while biking around the city and the large coal bag is the ultimate beach bag and was a lifesaver at Brimfield. Originally designed to carry coal (hence the name), these bags are even used by the US Forest Service out West to clear trails and remove debris. [J.Crew] [ACL & Co.]

The large coal bag and small zipper bag at J.Crew 484 Broadway in NYC.

ACL & Co. Large Zipper Coal Bag

Comments on “ACL & Co. x J.Crew | Canvas Coal Bags

    Ramalhoni on July 22, 2010 1:31 PM:

    Beautiful bags congrats…. some men are afraid of using a bag, but I really don’t see why !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Dandux Himself on July 22, 2010 1:45 PM:

    …and a steal at only $145 to $160 a pop in the store!!

    These things used to go for $27. Of course, that was without the ACL tag on it. Look around and I’m sure you’ll find one. I love the site, but this mark-up is too much.

    Other blog posts on this bag:

    Here’s an entire Dandux Basket Truck for less:

    Makaga on July 22, 2010 1:51 PM:

    Great bags!

    I’ve always wondered in such bags, what is the small horizontal “handle” for?
    Was something traditionally attached there?


    JVK on July 22, 2010 1:56 PM:

    I was in the store on tuesday visiting from out of town and saw them with my own eyes and i was very tempted… saw them online this morning as well so now i know i can still purchase one this summer yet. i liked the small one.


    leon on July 22, 2010 2:01 PM:

    the dandux basket truck post is great!

    Nappyheadjenkins on July 22, 2010 2:39 PM:

    Impressed and disgusted
    bravo..shame shame

    Thomas on July 22, 2010 2:42 PM:

    Similar posting recently over on 10engines. Similar to a coal bag, but called a Junk bag by Textile Buff and Wheel.

    10engines post:

    Available at
    for the budget conscious readers.

    Irony? on July 22, 2010 2:44 PM:

    This is getting meta! A Googs search for “dandux canvas bag” returns this result:

    jfox/10e on July 22, 2010 3:12 PM:

    @thomas cheers. i have to pay it forward and say ArchivalClothing have a “researched to the hilt” all-canvas job that will also work.

    Jay on July 22, 2010 3:13 PM:

    I am interested in finding out why the standard Dandux Coal Bag goes for $27 and this one for $120/$140.
    Could you explain this? Differences in materials/construction/size?

    JonIndiaâ„¢ on July 22, 2010 3:26 PM:

    yeah yeah nice bag. I must say sweet ass photographs and nice kodachrome effects too. ooo ahhhhh

    Dandux Himself on July 22, 2010 3:29 PM:

    @Jay there $103 zipper on these.

    he gon dun did it on July 22, 2010 3:35 PM:

    interested as well how these bags differ in construction compared to any of the cheaper options.

    Dandux Himself on July 22, 2010 3:51 PM:

    Actually, @Jay, the real reason is probably more than likely a couple things:

    One, you can have these things custom made for you by CR Daniels. Go to their website and you can have one of your own made. The problem is that when you make things in small batches, your marginal costs are higher, and you don’t get the savings. Which is what Michael has done here.

    Two, when you sell into retail there is typically a 2.5x markup because of overhead costs (rent, people, etc.), so by selling these things to J. Crew they have to do that here. J. Crew is also not dumb, and they would not allow Michael to sell these things for less than they do in the ACL store.

    So, in effect, you have a bag that probably cost around, let’s just say $35 to make a small batch. Then you sell to retail (JCG) for $58 (145/2.5) and you get that margin of $23 for yourself per bag. Then JCG marks the bag up to $145 to make their cut and cover their fixed costs.

    Then, to keep your deal with J. Crew legit since they advertise on your website and you are a PR guy, you write a post directing people to their stores.

    At the end of it all, you are actually selling them in your own online store too, which is where you really want people to buy them because you get to keep the whole margin between $35 to $145 yourself.

    My opinion is that by doing the deal with J. Crew, who I think is the best/smartest clothing company out there, you are doing a little dance with the devil. You get to have your bags in stores and get your burgeoning brand out there, but you have to cheat your faithful a little bit. I’m sure Michael feels a little bit like that.

    But that still doesn’t explain the $225 price on the cargo pants that I want, but won’t buy at that level.

    Jeremiah Simmons on July 22, 2010 4:04 PM:

    Michael Williams is the Don Corleone of this blog shit brah… so crispy… so wavy.

    jc on July 22, 2010 4:15 PM:

    from what I can see the J.Crew version does not include the metal D rings and removable shoulder strap.
    am I wrong?

    Dandux Himself on July 22, 2010 4:21 PM:

    @jc check the mannequin in the first picture.

    Ethan-T on July 22, 2010 5:31 PM:

    I am not sure what’s the big deal here. I go shopping with my wife and we end up in a fancy ass french “leather goods” store (LV). She picks out a bag she likes and it’s $2,500 and it’s made out of fucking canvas with some leather trim. Why hate on ACL? They are entrepreneurs and entitled to make a buck. It really pisses me off when he is promoting something and all you haters always call him a sell out or blah blah blah. This is his fucking income stream, ACL is not a social service funded buy a grant from the national endowment for the arts. Who ever you are “ACL”, thanks for bringing cool shit into my home via my computer… even if you are paid to promote it. God I love America!~

    kungfu grip on July 22, 2010 5:48 PM:

    dear haters.

    those are some powerful typing keystroke muscles you all have.

    i understand you are frustrated in your dead-end thankless jobs that don’t afford you the opportunity to truly shine. i even get that your girl’s fisheye makes you quesy in that uneasy feeling she gives you that she’s ‘settled for’ you.

    i, too, wish & hope to find the equanimity b/w my career and personal life…until then? well, i’ll take my frustrations out on energies reserved for a far bigger collective consciousness that leaves the world a better place.

    MW? can’t hate on your hustle…do yer thang.


    sam c. on July 22, 2010 5:49 PM:

    side stepping the whole cost commentary going on here… am i right to assume the horizontal handles on the side are meant to give you something to hold on to as you’re dumping the contents of the bag?

    Mitch on July 22, 2010 6:15 PM:

    Yeah, that’s right. JCrew calls ’em “dump handles” in the product copy. Pretty good name for something.

    To be honest I got a little bummed when I saw this, for selfish reasons–I learned about Dandux when I was in school in Baltimore. Hopkins uses their bags/carts in the gym. I’ve been wanting (for, oh, three weeks) to make something out of their conveyor belting or industrial fabric. BUT NOW I CAN’T IT’S RUINED FOREVER.

    If I really am a creative person I will get over this. Nice bags, MW.

    Matt on July 22, 2010 6:35 PM:

    All I see is a superfine bicycle…that a Raleigh Robin Hood?

    Dandux Himself on July 22, 2010 6:43 PM:

    @ethan-t, @kungfu grip. No hating going on here. I certainly love this website and check it every single day. I have absolutely NO problem with people making money or creating a new revenue stream for themselves. In fact, I was very excited when the ACL shop opened.

    Full disclosure: I own the ACLxGant madras shirt that is in the top five of my rotation, and I really want to pull the trigger on the McNairy cargos (as I mentioned earlier), but can’t. I think I will succumb soon, though.

    I would never make a comment on something creative to try to bring someone down for no reason. This particular bag I just find to be less than inspired. There is little difference between this and the original. How does a zipper, a shoulder strap, and an ACL tag justify a 5.4x markup? It really doesn’t. I was merely trying to point out to anyone that wanted to purchase this bag that they could do so for much less. I have a bit of a problem with just slapping your name on a thing and saying it is something it is not. That is Trump style branding.

    My second post was just my musings on why it was so expensive and some of the inner workings with retail. If you read carefully, you would have seen this line: **but you have to cheat your faithful a little bit. I’m sure Michael feels a little bit like that.** I feel for him on this one.

    MW will get his money and visibility from JCG, but my comments were for the ACL faithful that take the time to read his site and the comments. Call it shedding a little light.

    Major props to Michael for not stifling this conversation and allowing us to debate this on his own site. That’s a a true American.

    Last thing: @kungfu grip….the lines about my job and my girl? C’mon. You’re better than that.

    Matt on July 22, 2010 6:55 PM:

    Ah…I zoomed in and see that it is a “Superbe.” Sweetness, indeed. In re. the bag debate, perhaps a blog post sometime on decent bags for restored/rehabbed vintage British bikes?

    Matt on July 22, 2010 6:58 PM:

    Also, does the 15% discount for teachers that J. Crew has at its stores apply at the Liquor Store location still apply? The only way I’ll be able to get some of this fine stuff. I can haul a lot of failing essays in one of those bags!

    Jojoba on July 22, 2010 7:29 PM:

    Guys lets stop arguing for a second. Think of the poor coal miners for a second they will go broke buying these things.

    Matt on July 22, 2010 7:51 PM:

    Product details question: in the large bag is the configuration a zipper OR the shoulderstrap, but not both, right? Looks like the J.Crew site description implies both, but on the ACL website they are called out separately. Ideally I’d like both in the larger size bag? thanks

    allen on July 22, 2010 9:48 PM:

    Ideally, Matt, you’d buy the same fuckin’ bag from the manufacturer for $27.

    Or you could get a Trader Joe’s bag for two bucks.

    Or you could carry a backpack like a grownup instead of toting your Macbook around in a purse.

    Max on July 22, 2010 11:20 PM:

    Too expensive.

    Adam on July 22, 2010 11:57 PM:

    Hey, how are the bags used to clear trails? Seems like a pulaski works pretty well usually. Never seen anyone using them but maybe trail crews do use them to carry their shit who knows.

    Ted on July 23, 2010 12:11 AM:

    Right on Brother Michael! Fucking awesome. on July 23, 2010 7:39 AM:

    Are such bags traditionally always light colored? Any plans for producing the bags in other colors in the future?

    I’m sure it was quite cool to ride to the store and see them there. What a cool moment for you!

    Ed on July 23, 2010 8:07 AM:

    @Adam – I want to see you chop roots with a canvas bag, and haul debris with your pulaski. ;)

    Second on the props to Michael for letting the debate play out, and also to people who are keeping it civil. I’m sure there’s a substantial J.Crew markup in play, but at least it’s for a well-made product. If you’re aware of a less expensive source, you can feel good about the bargain find.

    CountyComm is a good source for current-issue military watches, for those of you who want to jump ahead of the vintage trending. Also many varieties of the nylon band, all very well made.

    mike on July 23, 2010 8:51 AM:

    saw a fella wearing your Gant collab in Boston…still kicking myself for missing out on those. Congrats on another handsome collaboration.

    mb on July 23, 2010 8:59 AM:

    nice 3-speed!! is it a Raliegh?

    P on July 23, 2010 11:00 AM:

    Dandux I’ve been lusting after the cargo pants as well.
    Does anyone know how it fits? Maybe I should go to a brick and mortar store like Epaulet to try it on. They carry it in desert digi camo. (But I really like the solid blue one from the “Run of the Mill” online store.)
    True to size? will it stretch out?

    Shea on July 23, 2010 12:16 PM:

    I don’t understand why TOTE bags have to be so expensive?
    I have just moved here from LDN after graduating and working as a topman stylist at Oxford Street.

    J Crew is my dirty secret love and these bags are very very very nice. But still… It will get dirty within a month, I would like to see anyone who owns one and uses it daily not to see a pen mark or anything which would completely tarnish it within a month.

    want some advice from a complete stranger you don’t really care about!? Course you do!

    No one, and I mean NO ONE makes tote bags for cyclists …comfortable tote bags anyway. Incorporate a two strap system to strap to a cyclists bag and you have a winner!

    …shove a wholefoods logo on it and you’re a millionaire many times over I’m sure.

    Aurora on July 23, 2010 12:51 PM:

    I don’t blame ACL for wanting to make a buck. We have all probably purchased a desirable something or other at one point, and anyone who thinks a piece is overpriced shouldn’t buy it.

    Funny that all of this stuff was originally created for those doing really simple, manual labor, who just wanted a very well made, affordable, bare bones product, and would probably never read the comments on a website.

    Now the accessory gear from a manual laborer’s life has been co-opted by people who have maybe never done a day’s work like that in their life. Perhaps people obsessing over bags like this should volunteer on a farm, or do some work at a National Park, if they like the looks of it so much, and stop just dressing for it. Maybe they would be happier.

    Clearing brambles in rain, weeding, baling hay and digging trenches isn’t terribly fun or glamorous. Most people who do work like that cannot afford to spend loads of money on a bag. They just want something functional to make the work a little easier.

    Shea on July 23, 2010 1:27 PM:

    Is this being twisted into another MAC scandal?

    Matt on July 24, 2010 7:08 PM:

    Aurora, these things that ACL is making are special editions. And, if you haven’t noticed, American makers of simple work tools and items are going out of business one by one because people keep going out and buying cheap crap. Among a circle of friends of mine, word about some these companies is being spread and products are being bought. What you say is sort of true, but you don’t mention or realize that anyone of the companies of the ACL American List can disappear just like that. And celebrating the companies like Dandux with a special edition in J. Crew will alert people and help spread the word that one doesn’t have to buy a cheap bag from China. Sure the special editions are expensive, but just like I did, people will seek out all manner of American-made quality bags (or whatever.)

    Damian on July 24, 2010 7:44 PM:

    Classy tag font. I love American made canvas bags but I generally use mine to haul dirty heavy goods not to go to the beach so dropping big dollars on them is out of the question but more power to ACL. I recently scored a great US canvas bag at a garage sale for 50 cents. Held about 40 lbs of filthy tools like a champ.

    Jimmy on July 25, 2010 12:23 AM:

    Wait..if these bags were originally intended to carry coal, were they always white?? Unmoved by the bags, but admire your hustle, Michael

    BPA on July 25, 2010 2:35 AM:

    As an aside, can anyone identify the make and model of the bicycle here? It’s pretty kick-ass!

    chuck on July 25, 2010 2:16 PM:

    you have to at least give credit to the “danudux” guy above for being transparent – I never quite understand why any of these folks that complain feel “slighted” when all they have to do is BUY the actul dandux bag for $30 – if you are spendng $165 to get Michael’s logo (via Jcrew!) then you are getting what YOU PAID FOR – the chance to wear someone else’s nike swoosh on YOUR bag.

    JLSLC on July 25, 2010 2:25 PM:

    There are very few things sold a J Crew that couldn’t be had for much less by a cost conscious, source savvy shopper. That is not J Crew’s market!

    If you can get the “same” item for a fraction of the price, good for you.

    BTW, if you can offer nationwide distribution, and better yet build a world famous brand around yourself, you will be able to charge a relative fortune to people and. . .oh wait. . .

    Ed the First on July 26, 2010 10:38 AM:

    Hmm, I sense another Smythson notebook thread developing…

    There’s a really appealing top behind the bags in a few shots, grey and cut like a cross between a shirt, a jacket and a hoody. Can anyone tell me what it is please?

    Excellent Joe on July 26, 2010 12:24 PM:

    I want to slather these bags with mud, bleach them back to white, then tumble them dry in a nice industrial dryer. This could only mean that I love them.

    doane on July 26, 2010 2:47 PM:

    Perfect hauling tool for 30 or so baseballs for a little batting practice.

    corb on July 27, 2010 9:54 PM:

    saw them today at the j crew mens’ store. the best thing about them is the giant dandux logo emblazoned on the inside. other than that, i wasn’t ready to pluck down any green for another bag.

    Simon on July 27, 2010 11:58 PM:

    Ed the First,

    I was just reading the comments hoping someone else would answer the same question. I’m pretty sure it’s this:

    Dana on July 29, 2010 12:16 PM:

    Congratulations and every continued success, Michael. X

    Ed the First on August 2, 2010 4:44 AM:


    Thanks for that, I had a feeling it might be that hoodie but was crossing my fingers that it was something a bit less pricey – think I’d get more use out of that than the bags (though I quite like the idea of buying one and then carrying some actual coal around in it).

Comments are closed.