Itemized: The Penfield Navajo Satchel

November 10, 2009


Every week a different FADER staff member will pick a clothing item or accessory that he or she has lately been spending a lot of time with—or would like to—and write a little love letter to it. We would’ve done a column on who we’re dating but that seemed a little bit much. This week style intern Siri Thorson writes about the Penfield Navajo Satchel.


Growing up on a farm in the Pacific Northwest, a region that can be summed up in a single word—damp—my dad taught me through example which fabrics were to be my friends in the war on precipitation. Besides a beard, his best protection from the elements proved time and again to be a vast collection of thick, wooly overshirts. I can still remember being carried home from some community get-together, my bare feet clammy in the night air, but my cheek warm and dry on his broad, scratchy shoulder.

Fast forward about 20 years, and my feelings towards fabrics have changed a bit. I still have infinite respect for wool, the kind of respect that can only be gained from having parents who not only wear the stuff, but raise sheep, shear them, hand-spin their wool into yarn and weave it into rugs on an old fashioned treadle loom. But now the idea of wearing anything quite so scratchy next to my skin gives me a rash just thinking about it—which is what makes this Penfield bag so ideal. Its sturdy, woven exterior reminded me immediately of something dad would have pulled on in the evening to go finish up chores just as the dew began to settle on our little homestead—and the Navajo print and leather trim only add to its rustic appeal. Because it’s in bag form instead of shirt form, I can tote my nostalgia around on my hip at a safe distance from my bare flesh. Now if I could just get it to smell like woodsmoke and lanolin, it would really feel like a little piece of my home-on-the-range.

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Itemized: The Penfield Navajo Satchel