Hudson Sutler: The All-American Duffle Bag

by Alex R. Travers

The work week is over, where are you off to? If it’s a winter weekend, skiing perhaps. Not a bad idea, although you need a sturdy weekend duffle to pack your clothes for travel. Let me suggest a bag by Hudson Sutler, one of the most grounded accessories companies I’ve come across.

Grant Hewit, the president of Hudson Sutler in New York City, has an ambition in life: “To make the best damn duffle bags and accessories American hands can assemble.” And if anyone can do it, it’s him.

Fascinating fellow, Hewit. Studied history at Princeton. Became an instant success in the financial services industry at Oppenheimer, while paying close attention to fashion at the workplace. Opened Streaker Sports—a sports apparel company that focuses on the bond between fans and the teams they follow. After that, he decided to make bags and accessories for everyday use. Hudson Sutler was born.

A “sutler” is a name given to an army camp follower who peddles goods to soldiers. In the case of Hewit’s establishment, Hudson Sutler is providing goods to operative Manhattanites fighting the temperamental weather, traffic, and exceedingly difficult time constraints New Yorkers face. Hudson Sutler bags are meant to take a beating; they’re made with durable canvas and cotton handles. In fact, the bags look better when they’ve been roughed up a little.

Let’s take a look at a Hudson Sutler classic: the Yorktown Weekend Duffel. Aptly named after one of our nation’s first settlements, the bag consists of a heavy-duty midnight navy canvas. Bright red cotton handles are sturdily sown on and white zippers the size of shark teeth clench together on the top and sides of the bag, protecting what’s inside. A “quick-grab” end strap on the side of the bag exists for when you’re in such a rush you don’t have the ten seconds to drape the main strap around your shoulder. Inside is a checked red, white, and blue liner—Hudson Sutler’s liners are the defining feature of the brand.

I asked Hewit about the liners because they grabbed my attention—during our meeting I noticed his iPhone case sported images of a Brittany Spaniel on an orange background in a sort of Wahrolian series of repetition. I figured this must be the liner for one of his bags. It was: The WM Lamb. “You know those bags you see every banker carry that say ‘Goldman Sachs’ or ‘JP Morgan’ all over them?” Hewit asked me. I did. He went on. “Well, Hudson Sutler makes a similar bag, but instead of putting the brand or logo on the outside, we add it in the liner for a more understated effect.” Smart concept. Hudson Sutler also plans on launching a collegiate line in the near future and has made a few custom bags and iPad cases for clients.

I will say, from my personal point of view, but in his words, that Hewit makes a damn good bag—his designs are simple and practical. Thanks to Hudson Sulter, the everyday duffle has been brought back to life.

To learn more about Hudson Sutler and shop the bags, visit http://www.hudsonsutler.com/