Though the whole Americana heritage trend has been legally declared dead for some time now, from time to time we still find ourselves drawn to products and brands still championing the hyper minimal, handmade with natural materials aesthetic. And more often then not, said products/brands are Japanese. Case in point: The Superior Labor.

Founded in 2007 but self-taught artisan Makoto Kawai, The Superior Labor makes basic, everyday carry items like backpacks, tote bags, key holders, etc under one roof in the Okayama, a city famous for producing the world’s best denim. Mokoto and his modest team use only the highest quality, hardest wearing materials, and of course, cut and sew each product by hand.

We first came to know the quiet brand through our friends at tokyobike (read more about tokyobike in our new Q&A), who have been carrying an assortment of The Superior Labor goods in their NYC brick and mortar for the past few years.

The ultra clean lines of the basic canvas Backpack make it perfect for daily commuting, while the drawstring Rucksack would easily be at home hauling gear and firewood around the campsite as books and a laptop in town. The Engineer Tote may be a bit too heritage-y for our blood, bit it’s still handsome enough to note nonetheless. Plus the little dip painted pouches are great organizers.