Founded in Evanston in 1920, Kaehler Luggage is set to debut an expanded storefront in the 900 North Michigan Shops this month. 900 N. Michigan Ave., Sixth Fl., 312-951-8106; worldtraveler.com
Known for carrying luxe lines like Rimowa and Tumi, Windy City–based Kaehler Luggage also designs its own standout bags—like the autumn-perfect Horween Tan Roughout Duffel ($1,195). General manager Ben Kaehler—great-grandson of founder Walter Kaehler—guides us through the finer points of this premium piece.
Kaehler works closely with renowned Chicago-based leather company Horween to select materials. “These bags have [only] traveled about five miles in their life,” he marvels.
The all-brass hardware will develop a patina that can be polished to its original color. “[With] any material, we want it to look better as it gets older,” says Kaehler.
“Different parts [of the hides] have different properties,” says Kaehler. “The top is less bendable, so that’s good to use for a shoulder strap.”
The bag’s textured exterior may resemble suede, but it’s actually a premium, continuous cut of leather flipped outside in. “[That’s why] we call this tan rough-out,” Kaehler says of the duffel, whose fully lined interior boasts a smooth, baseball-glove feel.