Integrating seamlessly into the new-gen lifestyle, Grams(28) displays great ingenuity and intuitive understanding of what men want today.
By: Soumya Jain Agarwal
Posted on: January 24, 2024
LF Says: ★★★★.5
We can thank Gen Z and Gen Alpha for a revolution in the world of luxury. Luxury has, for a long time, being associated with something that is ‘expensive’ or ‘unattainable’. While these historical connotations hold true, an expansion to the term has emerged. Today, the word luxury also means good quality, high class, unique, yet within reach – in terms of availability and the price as well. Luxury is no longer as unattainable. Nor is it restricted to the realms of royals or celebrities.
Today’s customer is more educated about material excellence, functionality coupled with beauty, and finesse. Understanding that sentiment, Benjamin Chan founded Grams(28) – a leather accessories brand – that offers tech folios, slings bags, wallets, card holders, phone covers, and more.
What’s new with a leather accessories brand, you might ask. Well nothing, except that Grams(28) offers exactly what the customer today wants. Mr. Chan realized the gap right in time. “Grams(28) is a brand that represents what I was looking for when browsing luxury goods. It became apparent to me at one point that luxury products were often impractical or otherwise designed with only appearance or aesthetics in mind. For instance, you’ll often see people complaining about how some luxury bags are uncomfortable or impractical to wear or have no organization,” says Mr. Chan. So Grams(28) was born, and Mr. Chan best explains the ingenuity of it: “We try to give you the best of all worlds. Balance is important to me and this is reflected in our products. Between functionality, appearance (design) and quality, we try to keep all aspects in mind. This allows us to fill a niche in the market that was yet empty before us.”
The design sensibility of Grams(28) is simple. It’s pure linearism, created with high quality, supple, full grain leather, with just enough curves to give it an easy-on-the-eyes aesthetics. In terms of shades, black, olive green, dark blue, fossil grey, and tobacco, give a deep essence to the products.
If solid color is too conventional for you, some of their products offer these shades with a ‘snowflake’ effect. My snowflake tobacco Cardholder has a beautiful, sophisticated ‘worn’ effect, that exudes elegance and class.
The best part about Grams(28) products is their pockets and zippers. Each item that you have will find an assigned place in your product – whether it’s a pen or an AirTag. For a person like me, who is quite dyslexic when it comes to organization, Grams(28) is a boon.
Mr. Chan understands the needs of today’s generation. With our gadgets and cards, our world has become smaller. Thus, our accessories can also be more compact and smarter – just like our devices.
I used their Essential Case, and trust me, it has become my daily carry-on, instead of the many fancy cross-body bags I used. It neatly holds my phone, money, credit cards, AirPods and some more tiny stuff, without needing me to dig inside endlessly for my vital things. And yes, while Grams(28) products essentially cater to men, I thankfully find some of their products unisex.
The origin of things
Mr. Chan only believes in exceptional Italian leather. “We have actually worked with multiple tanneries in the past, and the one that we currently source from, Gruppo Mastrotto, was chosen because it was superior in multiple aspects,” he explains.
The tannery was chosen after rigorous considerations. The tannery’s labour policies, traceability and sustainability of the tanning process, and the quality and authenticity of the leather produced were checked. “After conducting research on the tanneries, we conduct site visits to potential contenders and finalise our choices based on what we can observe. We take into account the labour policies of the region in which the tannery is located, the process of (and skill involved in) tanning the leather and of course the durability and appearance of the final result. We want our customers to know what they are buying, and we do our best to ensure that we provide the best,” said Mr. Chan.
Indeed, my dark blue Leather Tech Folio, which I got personalized and embossed as well, felt smooth and lustrous beneath my hand. You could feel that not only was the leather of superior quality, but the folio was crafted in a way to make that the leather was the main star of the product. Meticulously organized as well, and extremely light to carry, it not only holds your MacBook Air/Pro, but also other things you might need for a working day.
In the spirit of keeping the customer informed, each Grams(28) product also has a code discreetly embossed on it. The code tells the customer about the origins of the product. For example, in the code (101 0901 039), the first part signifies the product category, the second signifies the material and tannery, and the third signifies the location of tanning. And all this information is available in each product listing on their website.
For such superior quality, you might wonder why the price is so affordable? Here too the brand aims for transparency, as Mr. Chan explains: “We position ourselves as a brand of “affordable luxury” - thus our pricing model. We are not trying to emulate traditional luxury brands that impose an overwhelming markup on their products; we do things our own way. We pride ourselves on offering fair pricing based on the materials and craftsmanship that we offer.”
There’s always an argument that leather is no longer a sustainable material for the world. Mr. Chan, however, begs to differ. There are multiple ways the brand is addressing sustainability. For starters, they are targeting long-lastingness and durability, which can mostly come from using high-quality leather only. Additionally, the brand offers lifetime warranty and repair service to ensure that you continue to use your product as much as possible.
Leather alternatives is not something that the brand is considering at the moment. “I am well aware that the processes behind the majority of leather alternatives are not sustainable. For instance, vegan leather production often involves mixing plant fibres with non-biodegradable chemicals which are even worse for the environment. Not only that, many of these alternatives do not have the same value that I prize with actual leather – durability,” Mr. Chan explains.
Although he has a softer stance towards pinatex, Mr. Chan doesn’t see it as a long-term solution due to its difference in quality and appearance from actual leather, and also due to the challenges associated with its large-scale production. “Unless a truly sustainable alternative emerges, we will continue using authentic, gold-rated full-grain leather,” Mr. Chan says firmly.
The packaging of Grams(28) is completely sustainable. My products arrived is soft, reusable cloth bags, which were in turn packed inside a hard paper box saying “Obviously you’ve made a great choice”. We did indeed!
Down the road
A fairly new brand in the world of fashion and accessories, Mr. Chan does have a strong vision for Grams(28). While the brand started with an online presence, they now have a brick-and-mortar store in UK. This enterprising founder plans to have more. “We want to give customers the option and flexibility of having both - I’m well aware that a lot of people want to see a product in person before buying, which definitely makes sense. In 2024, we hope to expand to other locations as well.”
The brand is also going to release new products this year, while bringing back its beloved backpack. Adding a personal note, I would love to see some products for women as well.
Grams(28) doesn’t conform to the traditional meaning of luxury, but does have a pulse on what the new generation wants. It does want class, but not at the cost of utility. This modern, new brand is slowly, but surely, driving the message that luxury doesn’t have to be shiny. It can be uncomplicated, unpretentious, yet desired.
LF Says: ★★★★.5