How Men’s Wallets Lost Their Unwanted Fat

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  • While I was flipping through the coffee-stained pages of the October GQ from last year, a quote suddenly popped in my head - 'Gradually, then suddenly' - a line from Ernest Hemingway's novel The Sun Also Rises. When Bill had asked Mike how he went bankrupt, that was the answer. And how apt is that phrase for wallets, I thought to myself. Men's magazines and fashion blogs have been suddenly hit with a wave of articles and ads on minimalist slim wallets. The Tsunami of attention and investment in new minimalist wallets is truly outstanding. When you think about it, the transition from bifold wallets to the modern slim wallets has been a slow gradual process in the beginning, and then it hit like a storm and wiped off the old concept of bulky wallets.

    Fashion Evolves

    Fashion moves faster than tides. This is especially true for women. Men's fashion is no sloth. We've seen more evolution in men's sneakers over the last 12 months than one can care to count. However, fashion evolution is compartmentalized. Some clothing items and accessories change every season, while others are like evergreen pine trees, classics that refuse to budge. Men's wallets are one of them, along with watches. After reigning supreme for decades, these men's accessories started to show signs of decay, especially the men's leather wallet. It looked weary. Even glamorous ads and rustic stories of handcrafted leather couldn't rev up its status anymore.

    Innovation In Men's Wallets

    Innovation is the clay on the potter's wheel. It's the core substance that keeps shaping into new ideas, designs, and inventions. After being stuck in a rut with the bifold leather wallet for what seemed like an eternity, things began to move. First, the Italians and French, when they tried to slim down the size factor and the bulk. Next, it was the Brits. UK tanneries like Stow London worked tirelessly with innovative designers to present a smarter, slimmer design that could sit proudly next to an Apple Mac. Things were moving fast.

    Slim Metal Wallet

    Here in the U.S.A., wallets were going through a radical transformation. Credit where due. Ridge pioneered a truly innovative design that was going to replace everything we knew and thought about men's wallets. For the first time, they presented a metal wallet. It was revolutionary.

    At the same time GRID was working on similar flat wallets. They loved the new metal design and shifted their focus on metal wallets. The initial metal wallet had its early flaws. GRID saw room for dramatic improvement. They aimed to present the first indestructible vault with precision engineering down to the last nano screw. Founder Mark played a Steve Jobs card - he took out the wallet from his watch pocket in front of a room full of journalists and joked "Here's almost a quarter-million bucks, in a safety vault, in my watch pocket". It worked.

    Innovation and evolution presented a new generation of wallets that are smarter, more durable, ergonomic, and follow a minimalist school of design.

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