Is there any hope of...
...more "natural materials" bags?
I mean bags made of wool/cloth/leather/metal/wood(?), rather than plastic.
I'd certainly love a Brain Cell equivalent with an interior lining of cashmere or alpaca, a frame of metal, and a surface of slightly padded leather.
Anyone else find this tempting?
mildly appealing to me
Bags mix fashion and function. I'll admit that some natural materials are very pleasing to my eye yet very very functional. Many Filson garments (and yes even bags) fall into this class. Billingham and Fogg camera cases also highly functional and fashionable and use lots of "natural" materials. Barbour waxed cotton jackets are exquisite.
Still if you look at weight, abrasion resistence and water repellency...my guess is that "synthetic" materials almost always have the edge.
My least favorite synthetic part of many bags (including TB) are the plastic buckles that hold the bag closed. I like how they function most of the time but if you ever get one caught in a car door or anything you will have to find someone with sewing skills beyond me to replace the broken buckle. I really like the looks of the paragliding buckle that Waterfield uses. I personally have no experience with the paragliding buckle and I know that they are expensive.
I have an old messenger bag by another maker of waxed cotton (at least on the outside, the waterproof liner is synthetic). It has an elegence that ballistic nylon and cordura lack.
I think that TB bags use very little leather in general (my Brain Bag has a leather wrap on the handle but that is the only leather I can think of on a TB bag). Leather looks nice but is heavier and often less durable (plus requires periodic conditioning).
Wool and metal don't appeal to me for a bag either on a functional or aesthetic perspective (excepting the metal buckles I mentioned previously).
I wonder what others think? There is no doubt Timbuk2 sees a market here with their new Singlespeed line (which has no appeal to me whatsoever).