Style / May 2018

Troubadour: Made for Travel

Modern brand Troubadour has created refined bags and accessories that are as sophisticated and versatile as they are durable and practical.

The ziptop rucksack has a zipper which opens two-way and the internal organisation pockets are padded and large for a myriad of different items.

A brand’s name is arguably the most fundamental part of a company; a few words responsible for communicating an entire ethos. Although a relatively new company, Troubadour has managed to establish its own symbolic heritage through its title, while underlining the importance of quality materials and design. “A Troubadour is a medieval minstrel who travelled from place to place sharing stories,” says Co-Founder Abel Samet. “This name resonated with us as we thought about sharing the stories of the talented people we work with and the stories our products will forge with their new owners.”

It was these narratives of heritage that inspired Abel and Samuel Bail to abandon their careers in finance and establish Troubadour in 2011. The two met while working in London and quickly realised a common dissatisfaction with the available overnight and weekend bags on the market. “Working in the city, we travelled a lot and so we wanted a bag that was high-quality but not too flashy,” says Abel. “Most importantly, we wanted something which had a modern aesthetic to it which didn’t feel heavy and clumpy and was ultimately comfortable to use.”

With this clear idea in mind, the pair embarked on a series of expeditions across Europe to source the best quality raw materials and artisanal experts, including zip-makers and leather tanners. “We were amazed by the people we met,” says Abel. “All their family traditions, the history of their trade and the prospect of sharing many of these stories were incredibly exciting for us.” Their business began small at first, originally crafting bags for themselves and then on an ad hoc basis for colleagues and friends. However, their clientele quickly grew and seeing the high demand, the pair left their jobs to take up Troubadour full time.

With the aid of experienced Creative Director Samantha Jacob, every design has a key directive – to craft an elegant bag with the comfort usually assigned to more sports-centred and technical pieces. This is achieved with hidden pockets and using minimal lines on the body to form a smooth and clean-cut silhouette while implementing technical aspects such as S-shaped shoulder straps and electro-moulded back panels. “We work really closely with our factories in the designs that we do and there’s definitely a learning process along the way,” says Abel. “Building a new product from concept to production is probably an 18 month to two-year process for each style and even in production we are still always looking for ways to improve our samples.”

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Natasha Drax