I haven't seen very many reviews, ... or any really at all, going in depth about what the bag is like, so I'll just write one about it since I just recently bought one (also everyone gets the charcoal for some reason...). I hear a lot of good about the Ernest Alexander brand, but there isn't much to inform a person who's really interested. I've been sitting on the thought of purchasing a messenger for my new job for over a year. I wanted something more "grown up". This past black friday they had a 30% off sale and the price dropped from $395 to roughly $275, so I pulled the trigger to see what this bag was about. Originally, I was torn between leather bags versus canvas bags and, for the most part, I wanted a leather one. The only thing stopping me from purchasing a leather bag was the Ernest Alexander Hudson.
For those who care to know my choices, for leather I was looking at Ruitertassen 73.2337, Saddleback - front pocket briefcase. And for canvas bags I just wanted the Hudson. I decided against them because the Ruitertassen's leather was said to rub off on clothes and the leather strap seened thin for my taste. The Saddleback, while great in construction, just seemed too "out there." The logo with the three rivets felt too much for me. I like items a bit more subtle, so I opted out.
SOOO, I'll try and go over what has changed with their design within the past year or so, and my thoughts on the bag overall.
First off I wanted to say that the worker there said the stock picture online is very accurate to what the color would be and he is right it is. He also said the bag is slightly olive. A faint hint of olive. I do kind of see it on the website but in real life it is almost impossible to see under daylight. Looks like a dark gray most of the time.
The bag looks really good, probably one of the best-looking messenger bags with an understated look and feel IMO. At first I was thrown off with the color expectation but as I put my items in the bag and wore it, it started to grow on me. The canvas is waxed so it looks dark. The construction feels good. The leather, sturdy in feel but supple enough to get in and out of the front buckles easily.
Also a very good review from another person, with an older model of the hudson.
Nighttime with white light
Nighttime with flash
Daytime no flash - bag is filled with items FYI
Side profile - notice how the side flap comes up. It tends to do that a lot. You have manually put it down.
Side flap down
Inside the bag actually holds quite a bit. I carry a lot of items so I need a good amount of room for work items, food/snacks, miscellaneous items, and my laptop. I couldn't put everything in there, but it holds just about everything. You have to pick and choose what you may want to bring for the day.
Inside the empty bag, you'll see that there is a good amount of slots of items like little notepads, charging cords, etc. Strange enough sliding your hands down those slots feels oddly satisfying.
Also to note, the new bags will have a leather lining on the lip of each divider. It is a nice touch, it gives a more refined look and will help the bag look newer for much longer. The leather doesn't feel like the same used for everything else. It feels puffy. Faux leather of some sort. What bothered me the most wasn't that it felt different,
but it was that fact that the colors of the leathers were different. Online it shows that the dark leather on the charcoal and chocolate will have the dark lip lining and the British tan will have a matching tan leather. But mine just happened to be black on brown, which I really bugged me.
I know Ernest Alexander talks a lot about the quality of their brand, so I'm not too sure if it was a slight oversight, or if they were meant to be black. I don't know, it seems pretty brown on their product page.
Another cool thing I noticed was that the two front and side pockets have a metal magnet that keeps them shut. They are strong magnets that give a satisfying snap when placed together.
The leather at the bottom feels just like the rest of the leather around the bag. There seems to be something at the bottom to help the bag from giving under heavy weight. It looks and feels good, I would expect it to stand the test of time rather well.
There is a slight fray by the buckle on the leather already, but I don't think that is too big of a deal. I also took this picture to show that the leather on the handle is twice as thick as the shoulder strap. It literally is two pieces of leather bonded together, so the handle is really studying feeling and definitely feels good in the hand.
When holding the handle, I just wanted to note that the canvas will buckle in the center. It is just how it will be when the bag gets heavier. It doesn't seem that way on the website, but it will in real life (also reference the photo of me holding it above).
The bag does look its best when it is full. Otherwise, it becomes a bit frumpy and sages over itself.
For reference, I put my olive dopp from Blue Claw that I bought from Bespokepost. I assume more people will have it so they can get a better idea of the color of the bag.
And a few extra detail shots to showcase the leather and canvas. Again, I think it looks really good that the leather is on the lip of the dividers and the around the zipper. Classyyy.
The canvas they use now is just regular canvas..? I know on their older models they used a twill canvas. The leather now has a smooth finish, the old one was was textured.
A few items in the bag were:
-Laptop & charger
-Go stak (one inside, one on the outer side pockets
-Super glue (haha..)
-Lots of pens and pencils
-Fashion Anchor sticky tacks
Overall I think it's a great bag and I would really love to keep it but I'm not sure of the final verdict. I haven't taken it to work or anything yet, I literally just got it a couple day ago. But I'm torn between justifying the purchase of a $275 bag, settling for one that has a few hiccups versus waiting for however long for a perfect one. I guess I feel I should really love all of it before purchasing anything. Maybe I'll sit on it for a bit before I decide.
I really wish they had the British twill Hudson still in stock. Ideally for me, I would want the nice lighter tan canvas with the darker strap, to keep it subtle. I would definitely like for it to have the leather lining on the inside. I would be okay with or without the twill canvas. They had a clearance on the twill bag earlier on down to $200, but it sold out before I could make up my mind.
The only way to get that color combination would be to ask for a custom order. I know Makr does custom orders for their wallets, ie. creating the horizontal three wallet out of shell cordovan and charging material costs. But the worker helper told me it would double the original cost of the bag, so roughly $800 for a canvas bag. Yikes.
They recently changed their website so the videos of the old British twill Hudson is gone, but there is one picture on their page that is mistakenly a picture of their old British twill tan Hudson and not the new one.
I don't ever review anything. This is my absolute first so it's rather jumbled in terms of my thoughts being sporadic, but I hope it helps. I know many of you will like or even love this bag. I love it but just not the colors and specifications I want. Let me know your thoughts, if you have it maybe talk about what you really like or what you perhaps dislike about it. But for now, I'll just go to work with my disheveled swiss backpack.
OLD BRITISH TWILL TAN
NEW BRITISH TAN
Edited by tmai - 12/9/15 at 4:04pm