Lexdray accessories include durable materials and innovative design concepts that enhance the user experience. The company is simply built off function, style, quality and innovation, with each Lexdray piece is built for modern life, wherever that may take you. Lexdray’s debut collection has recently been released and comes inspired by concepts of utility and exploration with products featuring tactical secret pockets, concealed details and functional usage. We recently caught up with Alex Drayer, the man behind the label, to talk about his brand and what all the recent hype behind it is about.
Hit the flip to read the interview.
Culture Shoq: Who are you? Introduce yourself and give us some background information on who you are.
Alex Drayer: I guess to begin with, I’ve lived in several cities, traveled a fair amount and packed a lot of bags in my life. I grew up in North Carolina in the early eighties and I played pretty much every sport, especially basketball. I knew who Michael Jordan was and remember trying to copy his moves on the court when I was just 7 years old. I can’t say I knew what defined street culture at that time, but it was probably a subconscious stepping-stone for me.
Since graduating from the University of Colorado in 1999, I have lived in San Francisco and New York City, both of which have influenced me in a major way. San Francisco feels like a small town when you live there and I used to travel locally most weekends to Tahoe, Sonoma, Monterey, etc. and this is where I first started really adding to my collection of travel bags and the recognition of which features make for the best ones.
I moved to New York in 2004. It’s an inspiring and contagious city where fashion, art and music are at the forefront. From day one I interacted with multi-talented people from all over the world and I was immediately introduced to their cultures and became acutely aware of the way people dress, the foods they eat, the magazines they read, the bags they carry and the languages they speak.
When you are surrounded by incredible fashion, art, graffiti, music, etc., it’s becomes easy to gather motivation and inspiration. This coupled with my love of travel and street culture led to the idea for Lexdray.
CS: Introduce us to the Lexdray brand.
AD: Lexdray is a new brand specializing in travel bags and cases which I officially launched last month, May 2011. My intention is to make extremely functional, well-made products using high quality materials without compromising style. I’ve had a pretty clear vision from day one with Lexdray, that my goal was to blur the line between streetwear and luxury fashion.
CS: What made you want to start up the brand and what are some creative features in the bags?
AD: Like most people, I have always envisioned owning my own company or starting my own business. It’s a tough thing to do though and there’s never an ideal time to make it happen. So starting Lexdray gave me a creative outlet and the opportunity to potentially be involved in both fashion and street culture, two things I’ve always followed with great admiration.
My goal is to make each Lexdray bag identifiable in a very precise yet simple way. Each style is purposely understated on the exterior with minimal branding. The collection was designed with absolute function in mind, from the lightweight durable fabrics and hardware to the fleece lined laptop compartments.
CS: Talk to us about the Japanese craftsmanship and fabrics used on your accessories.
AD: Japan is known for their fine workmanship, artistry and craft-making techniques. When I think of Japanese craftsmanship I think of designs that are very simple but extremely well-made with a recognizable attention to detail where nothing has been overlooked. I put considerable time and effort into perfecting each Lexdray piece and my goal is for Lexdray to be viewed in a similar way.
The fabrics I used for the Classified Collection were chosen with function, style and quality in mind with our main body material a durable 1680 denier nylon with a PU backing. Denier is a unit of weight by which fineness of the nylon is measured and most bags you see today use lower numbered denier nylon and the quality or lack of quality can be obvious. I also chose to use a fair amount of neoprene which allows for both stretch and padding and the neoprene I chose utilizes a Lycra coating versus a more common jersey coating. Functionality for each of these is similar, but I preferred the look of the Lycra. One other material which is heavily utilized in the collection is a split PU coated cowhide leather. Split PU is a split leather with a layer of polyurethane applied, which results in an appealing looking fabric that is more water-resistant and easier to clean and maintain.
CS: What goes into designing a bag? How does it go from sketches on a piece a paper to the shops?
AD: In short, the design process that my artist and I go through when designing a bag is quite tedious. We start with a series of sketches and take those sketches to an Illustrator file, sometimes showing up to 20 views of a given bag. I then spend weeks finalizing each tech pack complete with fabrics, measurements and extensive notes and from there I go through a number of sampling rounds with my factory and multiple revised tech packs where I finally wind up with a finished product months later.
CS: Talk about the all new Classified Collection from Lexdray.
AD: If you’ve seen a bag from the collection first hand, you’ll notice what I call the Lexdray flag label, it’s a 4-color label found on all Lexdray styles with each color chosen to represent our four principles: Function, Style, Quality, Innovation. Each of these principles is outlined in more depth on our website, but I chose each one based on how I wanted the brand to be acknowledged as well as somewhat of a checklist to go through prior to putting out a new product.
CS: Of the collection do you have any personal favorites from the six styles out?
AD: Honestly, I’ve spent significant time using them all and each is unique in its own way. I believe in a bag for every purpose. Your gym bag doesn’t require the same features as your weekend bag, and your everyday messenger bag should function differently from a duffel. I am constantly studying bags, how people carry them and why, in an effort to enhance user experience with Lexdray designed products.
CS: Explain to us the significance of the all black designs and the limited production of 550 pieces per style.
AD: Black was chosen for its simple, modern and classic appeal and we will integrate new tonal colorways next year, likely starting with khaki and olive. The limiting production on a certain color or style gives people a sense of exclusivity, which is something that has always been important to me. By offering only 550 of each bag in all-black, likelihood is that if you walk down a busy street in NYC or Tokyo you are unlikely to see someone else carrying the same one. If you do however see someone, you’ll have an immediate connection and something to talk about.
CS: What can we expect later in 2011 and upcoming for 2012?
AD: I am working on a number of things right now. New colorways, new styles and new inserts for the current Classified Collection pieces. You can see more bags that will become available next year on our website, but also look out for some camera and hiking related styles as well as a few collaboration pieces.
CS: Will Lexdray be branching out from bags to other accessories?
AD: We will definitely have laptop cases and wallets available next year. We want to first establish ourselves as a bag brand, but my hope is to offer outerwear, shoes and additional fashion related items. My wife, who is also a designer and travel guru, has been pushing for a women’s line as well.
CS: Last words?
AD: I’m just happy the collection has gotten a positive response so far. I’m gonna keep putting out functional, quality products and look forward to where the brand is headed.Read More