Originally Posted by sygyzy
Not surprising to see Herschel stocked at UO. I mean let's be honest here, while they confusingly promote themselves as an affordable premium brand, they really are just the former - affordable. I am glad they are at UO. It matches their demographic and keeps the prices low. I would hate for them to be at some high-end shop.
I think you're right, they are going for premium features at an affordable price. However (and having seen both in person) I really can't see the difference in quality between a canvas Herschel bag such as the one I mentioned (RRP $139), and something like the Makr Farm Rucksack (RRP $160). I will admit that the Makr has nicer leather, but beyond that, I don't really see what's there to justify the price difference. The Makr is much smaller, has less pockets, no padded internal compartment, shoulder straps which have less padding (although, since it's smaller, they probably don't need as much), does not have a padded back like the Herschel etc.... all in all it's just a bit more "basic" (and, I will admit, more "vintage" looking because of the lack of modern (and I would say desirable for 99% of the people buying these kind of bags) features). If that's the look and feel you're going for, then great. Maybe it's because I am not a backpack expert, but I don't think you should have to pay so much more for less.
It's very easy for manufacturers to simply mention buzzwords like "construction" and "materials". These aren't shoes, though - we aren't putting these bags through the ringer every day. Does anyone really care if their bag lasts for 7 years instead of 10 years? I doubt any of us will still even be using these kind of bags even 5 years from now - fashion moves on, and tastes change. And if we do want to ever actually go on a proper hike, we will probably invest in a proper pack with all the modern features that technology has given us since the days when these vintage style bags were first being manufactured.
NB I noticed that Makr is currently having a 15% sale for anyone who is interested, bringing the cost of the bag I mentioned down to $136.
Also not sure exactly what you consider to be "high end", but Herschel bags are sure at a lot of SF-approved retailers, big and small.