They say the journey is more important than the destination, and we at Anthem Wares definitely agree. Especially when our journey entails endlessly cycling around city streets.
But for our fashion-minded selves, the lack of an amazing bike bag has continually put the brakes on fully appreciating the joys of pedaling; let's get real: the pickings for carryalls that suit both sexes from the saddle to the board room to the bar are slim (read: virtually nonexistent).
So when we came across Nabi Cooperative, a teeny Italian brand doing unthinkable, luxurious things to the cycling bag as we know it, we wanted in. There was no doubt in our minds that the line could transform cycling culture in the US. Lucky for us, Nabi's founder Mauro Sciascia totally understood the importance of giving his brand a killer international debut.
After graduating from a shoe and accessory institute in Rome, and two intense years co-designing a luxury bag line, Sciascia sought release. So he grabbed his bike and took off to peddle around Italy, Manhattan, and even partake in Alley Cat races from time to time. “Cycling offers freedom from life dilemmas and traffic lights, detours from routine, and healthiness,” he says. No matter where his wheels took him, Sciascia was flooded with compliments on his bag, a leather pack he had casually whipped up for himself years ago. Everyone wanted to know where to get one.
When Sciascia finally returned home to Rome, his mind and vision were clear. Enlisting his fixie-riding friends as testers and collaborators, Nabi Cooperative launched with the Alberta, a refined version of Sciascia’s accidental prototype, inspired by dry bags used for scuba diving. “I reviewed every aspect of the basic scuba bag, and enhanced it with beautiful leather, canvas, and hardware,” Sciascia says. “I kept the technical functions, and added new ones, like the second crossing strap for riders. Few bags are convertible into so many different ways, which leads to my favorite keyword: versatility.”
Instead of feeding into the waste-expelling tannery process, Nabi sources its feel-it-to-believe-it soft leather from a hidden stock house in Tuscany. Then a tiny lab in the center of Rome, two ladies, as Sciascia puts it, “strive their eyes and calluses to give the highest quality of finish” on handmade Nabi products. “Italian hand manufacturing still exists, is life lasting, and has an economic value,” he says. “But today’s manifestations of it come from small realities like Nabi.”
We don't know who's more excited to introduce the traditional Italian manufacturing process to America -- Sciascia or Anthem Wares. From both parties, there has been unparalleled enthusiasm towards creating an exclusive collaboration that caters to the cycling desires and style of Americans.
We are proud to say that we've worked directly with Sciascia himself to pinpoint colors (sunshine yellow), patterns (including a particularly luscious leopard), and shapes to make bike routes from the Bowery to the Mission all the more awesome. Turns out you can have your helmet, and fashion-forwardness too.
“I’ll give you the shameful scoop,” says Sciascia. “For almost two weeks, I’ve been without a Nabi bag. All of mine have been stolen by my girlfriend, family, and friends.”
We don’t blame the designer’s posse for their sticky fingers around his creations. But here’s what Sciascia tells us is normally in his Katcha backpack:
1. “A picture of my 15-month-old daughter Elettra.”
2. “A scout manual about lashing, which I'm really into actually.”
3. “A sunglasses box, ‘cause I hate scratched/dirty lenses.”
4. “Cigarettes to remember to quit smoking.”
5. “An image of the Holy Lady since I'm Catholic.”