In today’s increasingly hectic world, we’re all perpetually on the go. Whether it’s on and off airplanes, in and out of cabs, or between the office and social outings, life never stops. For guys on the go, the holy trinity in bags—whether briefcase, backpack, or gym bag—is light, durable, and stylish. All leather bags? Gorgeous. But heavy, and a disaster in a sudden Saigon rainstorm. Designer names? Handsome to be sure, but not likely to survive an everyday beating.
Enter Stuart & Lau, a men’s briefcase and luggage brand conjured up by world citizens Matthew Stuart and Jimmy Lau that’s somehow managed to fuse dapper with durable.
“When designing products, we always start with the user and consider how our products will serve him best functionally and stylistically—with equal emphasis paid to both,” says Matthew Stuart, formerly with Ralph Lauren in their Hong Kong office. “We aim for that healthy balance between innovative, thoughtful features and shapes with lasting appeal.”
Together with Jimmy Lau, a New York-based marketing consultant, the duo have been gathering buzz with their limited yet standout line of offerings that have been topping “best” lists left and right. “Our focus is on truly best-in-class offerings for each particular category— whether that is a briefcase, a backpack, or a gym bag—that possess an amazing array of features encased in a subdued, classic design. That’s the mantra,” says Matthew.
Take the Cary, their signature briefcase. Made of DuraLite fabric that Stuart & Lau have customized to their specifications, it’s built to stand up to the demands of urban living. “It’s a nylon-polyester twill top layer with a bonded rubber foam backing that makes it waterproof, durable, and wrinkle resistant. The rubber foam gives the fabric strength, while still being lightweight, so it holds shape like a thicker canvas without any of the drawbacks. In this way, the fabric performs as a technical material while maintaining the appearance of a refined twill,” explains Matthew.
Handsome full grain leather handles, strap, and trim give the bag a stylish finish, pairing equally well with a business suit or a pair of dark jeans and a nice linen shirt. Explaining the aesthetics of the Cary, Matthew says: “Your briefcase is a multi-year investment, so we tend towards the timeless and generally eschew seasonal styles. This allows us to invest more in the product over time, making improvements, versus creating seasonal products for the sake of freshness.
One of their latest improvements is an idea so ridiculously simple as to be absolutely genius: offering the same award-winning briefcase, but in three different sizes: Slim, Single, and Double compartment. All three share the same thoughtful design features: a padded laptop sleeve for up to 15” devices, an umbrella holder on the back of the bag, hidden stow pocket with microfiber lining, zippered mesh pockets for cords and cards, and beautiful hardware with plated nickel finish.
“We felt that the Cary represents our ‘perfect briefcase’ and a great foundation had been built over 3 years now. But some men carry more, and some carry less. So rather than reinvent the wheel, we decided to offer the Cary in three sizes,” says Matthew.
While Stuart & Lau’s no-nonsense aesthetic ensures high performance from their products, the brand’s unique marriage of Hong Kong style with New York sensibility adds something special to the mix.
“Both places represent internationalism and mobility in many ways, particularly when paired together,” says Matthew. “They are each a frenetic place where a smarter solution can add real value by simplifying one’s commute across the hectic cityscape. This vision of a man in motion, well served by a better briefcase and at ease in his journey through either city, certainly inspires our design philosophy and in many ways, is our reason for being.”
Stuart & Lau offer free global shipping as well as a Limited Lifetime Warranty. To see the full range of products, visit www.stuartandlau.com