Whenever I see netizens debating whether analog or digital is better, I feel like the arguments very often fall into the binary opposition of “sentimental” and “rational”. Why do we tend to assume people who prefer analog tools are weighing sentimental value more than practicality? It is a total misconception to think that analog users cannot maintain a balance between sentimentality and rationality.
POSTALCO is a brand founded in 2000, specializing in stationery and leather goods. The co-founder Mike Abelson likes using fabric, leather, and paper as his creative medium. In his personal life, he insists on using pen and paper to document his daily happenings and his creative ideas. Looking at this persistence, it is rather natural to regard him as an analog person. Looking at POSTALCO’s everyday objects, they are surely products of practicality that take in countless rationally designed details. Yet simultaneously, the classic designs exude the brand’s sentiments towards traditional materials.
POSTALCO’s brand logo is a carrier pigeon. Many would easily mistake POSTALCO as a Japanese brand, but it was actually co-founded by the American designer Mike Abelson in Brooklyn. The brand moved its base to Tokyo only when Mike decided to move to Tokyo with his wife, Yuri. Who is Yuri? She is the other co-founder of the brand. It was the love story of this designer couple that gave birth to this beautiful brand, POSTALCO.
Back then, Yuri worked as a graphic designer in New York. Like many other graphic designers, Yuri found carrying decks of presentation pages around to visit the clients a rather unpleasant part of her job. Mike, therefore, made a document case for her using leather and fabric. This document case has eventually become the brand’s first product, the Legal Envelope. Mike then launched POSTALCO, which specializes in everyday objects like cardholders, cases, and bags.
Legalenvelope是品牌的首件商品，也是Mike為愛妻Yuri解決生活難題的信物。 The Legal Envelope is the brand’s first product; it was also a gift Mike made for his wife, Yuri, to make her life easier.
Is Mike sketching out his designs with pen and paper just because he is an old school person? Apart from the sentiment he has with these analog tools, he also finds it a more practical way of noting down inspirations. Opening a notebook to start writing or drawing is, to Mike, more convenient. He does not need to be worried about the electronic devices running out of battery, or let the sudden inspiration be forgotten while unlocking the device. Another signature product of POSTALCO, the Snap Pad, is a result of his preference for pen and paper. With this paper board, one can easily reuse all types of scrap papers that are printed on one side and pin them together into a notebook.
POSTALCO’s paper products, including Snap Pads, all have a layer of starch-pressed cotton bonded to the cover. The colors of this water-resistant fabric will lighten with use.
「SNAP PAD」的開發來自於Mike使用各式各類的紙張，可以把雜亂的思緒統整起來。 The Snap Pad is inspired by Mike’s habit of reusing scrap paper. Scrap paper flying around randomly can be held together systematically by this notepaper cover.
不過隨著時間的推移，POSTALCO已不滿足於只生產文具，以及皮革、帆布包商品，野心逐漸擴展到服飾等的類別。近來最讓我怦然心跳的，可是「FREE ARM RAIN JACKET」這系列的雨衣商品。
While POSTALCO started with mainly stationery and leather and canvas goods, they certainly are more ambitious than staying with only the existing lines of products. The brand has recently started to launch their own clothing line, among which their Free Arm Rain Jacket is definitely the item that fascinates me the most.
Inspired by the rainwear worn by Japanese workers harvesting sugarcane in Hawaii in the late nineteenth century, the rain jacket is designed without shoulder seams. Not only does this give a clean design, but it is also more comfortable when wearing a backpack and makes it a suitable outfit for outdoor exercise. The rain jacket is produced with Shear-Dry nylon, which is more durable than other water-resistant fabrics. When compared to the hi-tech material, Shear-Dry nylon is also more breathable. With the sleek design and high-quality material, Free Arm Rain Jacket is surely a product that exceeds the functionality of regular rainwear.
無肩線設計使外套看來更俐落，也為雙臂提供更好的活動性。 Taking away shoulder seams gives the rain jacket a sleek outlook and allows ease of movement.
POSTALCO produces a wide range of products from cases to notebooks to even clothing. All these products have one thing in common – they are promoting a lifestyle philosophy that embraces traditional designs that are highly functional and practical. The brand is satisfying the needs of the nostalgic ones, without sacrificing efficiency and practicality. If someone asks once again whether sentimentality or rationality should be the way to go, POSTALCO can confidently answer, why can’t we have both?