In an age where heritage and history seems to be everything in the menswear world, it’s great to see older and established brands get the recognition they deserve with a revived interest. One brand whose profile has been built on durability, toughness and a clean aesthetic is Manhattan Portage. MP has been creating high quality luggage to meet the practical needs of New York City streets since the early 1980s and was the first company to use Cordura fabric. Originally designed for urban messengers and couriers racing from Central Park through Midtown, its fair to say that the company has pioneered the authentic messenger bag and stayed true to it’s NYC roots. However, the brand has steadily and consistently expanded it’s range to include all styles of luggage, so much so that you’re bound to have seen it’s iconic read and white logo on a Big Apple backpack or Pro Bike Messenger on your travels.
Manhattan Portage has also carefully selected it’s collaborators over the years to include G-Shock, Woolrich and Alpha Industries. And like any true collaboration, these projects have sought the best from both brands and fused them in an authentic and engaging way. Similarly to MP, Alpha Industries is a brand that traces it’s lineage back to some of the most iconic conflicts of the twentieth century and has been supplying garments to the US military since the Vietnam War. Founded in 1959 in Knoxville, Tennessee, Alpha was credited with it’s first contract to manufacture the M65 combat jacket, a garment which in itself would develop an iconic status over the ensuing years. Alpha Industries quickly became a premium supplier to the US military and also began to manufacture military-infused garments for the civilian wardrobe. The company’s impact on street style, design and military specifications has been immeasurable.
Paying homage to both the M65 field jacket and MA-1 flight jacket, the two capsule collections with Alpha Industries have enough heritage and heavy hitting details to peak anyone’s interest. The most recent collection utilizes the fabric and detailing of the classic MA-1 flight jacket, renowned for it’s orange lining, heavy duty zipper and nylon outer shell. The luggage collection takes these details and mixes them with the utilitarian design of MP, resulting in a hard wearing and distinctly rugged aesthetic which would be suitable for the streets of Bushwick or at home in the forests of the Catskills. The range includes the Morningside Backpack (pictured), NY Messenger Bag and City Lights bag, offering something for all occasions and capacities. This stays true to the principle of MP and their vision of ‘a bag for everyone’, with the added value of ‘New York tough’ construction and durability.
The Morningside backpack is a great ‘daily driver’ for any commuter or weekend bag for a hike in the hills. It features a zipped main compartment with laptop sleeve, padded shoulder straps and two additional zip pockets. It maintains the hallmarks of Manhattan Portage with YKK custom zippers and iconic city skyline logo. Clad in MA-1 olive nylon with an orange high-vis lining, the military aesthetic and trademark of Alpha Industries is also clearly visible, which makes this an item that is ready for the rigors of any environment you’re operating in.
So, if you’re looking for something with history, heritage and functionality, from two companies who have been instrumental in the worlds of fashion and design, you may want to check these out. Grab a bag that’s as smart as the city itself…