One of the questions I'm frequently asked is how I came up with the Solo—a question that takes me back to 2016. It all started with a simple desire: to find a sleek solution for carrying my essentials without the bulk of a traditional bag. Back then, the trend hadn't caught on for men to carry crossbody bags, and most of us relied on stuffing our pockets with phones, wallets, keys, and whatever else we needed for the day.

But I craved something different—something lightweight, understated, and practical. Most bags on the market seemed to scream their lifestyle branding, leaving little room for subtlety. That's when I stumbled upon a stash of sumptuous calfskin leather, so soft to the touch and in a rich black hue. With only enough leather for a simple creation, I embraced the challenge it presented.

For the finishing touches, I opted for a copper RiRi zipper and a fidlock magnetic buckle—both meticulously designed, durable, and highly functional. However, the leather lacked the structural integrity I desired, leading me to incorporate a double weave ripstop material from RLX for the lining, sourced from Mood Fabrics in the bustling garment district of NYC. To ensure strength and longevity, I chose a 1.5" high-quality nylon ottoman textured webbing with an impressive 8000lbs break strength.

In crafting the design, I aimed to reimagine the classic "fanny" pack silhouette, stripping away any unnecessary frills like front-facing zippers or exterior pockets. Instead, I focused on a clean, minimalist body with the zipper discreetly sewn on top—a design choice that not only appealed aesthetically but also enhanced accessibility while wearing.

Wanting ample space to accommodate all my daily essentials, including a water bottle or small notepad, I elongated the body and added subtle darts at the corners for a touch of volume to the otherwise seamless design. After three years of constant wear, this crossbody bag became an indispensable part of my daily routine, garnering compliments from strangers and friends alike. I was also surprisingly impressed myself for its durability and functionality.

Little did I know that this simple creation would lay the foundation for Smith+Parka's design ethos—a philosophy centered on simplicity, functionality, and luxury. As I embarked on relaunching Smith+Parka post-2020 (amidst the challenges of COVID), I revisited the Solo design, refining its width and softening its straps for a more universally appealing and less utilitarian aesthetic. And thus, the Solo was reborn—trimmed down by 3.5" and featuring smoother, more refined straps—a testament to the evolution of both the brand and its signature style.