Feel Good Friday: Responsibly Made Bags from Issara and United By Blue

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At The Manual, our goal is to enjoy life on planet Earth and look good doing it. To that end, we’ve long cultivated a dichotomy of luxury and ruggedness — dress shoes and hiking boots, tailored suits and rainproof jackets, shaving suggestions and beard-growing tips. We also believe that men have a responsibility to help keep the Earth a fly place to live.

Today, we’d like to talk about two very different brands that perfectly embody our outlook and style. Issara, an Australian brand, provides luxury luggage for refined, urban gentleman on the go. United By Blue, based in Philadelphia, makes apparel and bags for men of the more rugged, outdoorsy persuasion.

hudderton_khaki_30b23093-8b33-4f81-be82-6c2358a925bd_burnedUnited By Blue makes durable bags that come with lifetime guarantees. We were lucky enough to try out their Hudderton backpack (pictured), and we were very impressed with the craftsmanship. It’s made of 100% organic waxed canvas that can withstand any punishment from man or beast, plus genuine full grain leather and a hardy interior lined with cotton. If you purchase a Hudderton backpack now, your great grandchildren will likely wear it while scaling mountains on Mars.

Not only does United By Blue make outstanding bags, but they have pledged to remove one pound of waste from American waterways for very product they sell. To date, they’ve removed over 240,000 pounds of waste from rivers, beaches, streams, and lakes. By making high-quality products that last forever and organizing frequent waste cleanups, United By Blue is doing more than its part to keep the planet blue.

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Related: The Earth-Loving Man’s Guide to Reducing Waste

If you spend your time ascending skyscrapers instead of mountains, we urge you to try out a luxury bag from Issara. We’re especially impressed with the sleek Weekender bag and the slightly smaller Overnighter bag. Both are handcrafted with premium milled leather on the outside and elegant twill lining on the inside. They also have discreet compartments and pockets for electronic devices and toiletries. Oh, and they fit easily in airplane overhead bins.

Weekender Issara Black 9_burnedWe love Issara because they refuse to be a part of the fashion industrial complex — instead, they devote themselves to social responsibility through every step of the manufacturing process. Issara realizes that their Indian and Indonesian artisans are the most important members of the team, and reward them with at least 3 times the minimum wage, health insurance for themselves and their families, and plenty of opportunities to expand their skills and plan for the future.

These companies’ practices aren’t just sustainable from an environmental standpoint, but from a business standpoint, too. We need more companies like United By Blue and Issara to show the conglomerates of the world that there’s a better, more responsible way to make great products while turning a profit. In other words, these companies know how to stay in the black by being green.

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