Tuesday, September 22, 2009

:: Denim Collection Available Now!! ::

A little while ago Sonrisa began working on this newest collection of bags. I'll let you get the skinny directly from her, but I've gotta say, I think these bags are incredibly well-designed and stitched. She alludes to it a bit in her summary, but each flap and pocket is constructed of several pieces of salvaged denim. They are arranged in a way that might be missed by the casual observer, but much like your favorite pair of jeans, little details become more and more apparent the more time you spend with them. Anyway, taken directly from designer Sonrisa Rodriguez:

"I was about to go on tour with my friend’s band and I needed to make myself a backpack for traveling. I kept putting the project off because I wasn’t sure what color cordura I wanted to use, and if I even wanted to bother making it custom in some way. I wanted a colorway that could go with anything I chose to wear without being too simple or safe. Dismissing the idea of a practical all black bag as the easy way out and a heavily appliqu├ęd flap as beyond my skill level, I started considering using alternate materials in lieu of cordura. A thorough raid of my home fabric stash made me quickly realize that I had a disproportionate amount of denim scraps at my disposal in the form of sleeves, pant legs, and the eventual fabric source for my soon-to-be midpack: an intact pair of grey stonewashed jeans. I had accidentally stumbled upon an exciting bag idea!"

"If I were to name a source of inspiration for me in the creation of this series I would have to point to the New York street fashions of my youth. I am a child of the 80's and was a kid in the early 90's so I may have a slight bias towards that era, but I can honestly say that the creativity I was exposed to as a kid by walking down the streets of my neighborhood has never been surpassed. Anyone who came up during that time can no doubt remember denim playing a large part in their wardrobe, whether it was in the form of a favorite pair of jeans, overalls, or jacket. It was omnipresent and more than a bit gratuitous, but one thing it had on its side was durability. Many of the clothing supplied for this line could very well be a favorite skirt of yours from when you were eight, its denim barely worn through and strong as ever after all these years."

"When I first started working on the series, I went back to my personal fabric supply and found some salvaged pieces that I could use, but soon realized that I needed much more material. My good friend Jesse has an Etsy store where she sells vintage clothing and makes regular runs to thrift stores outside of the city to stock her store. When I told her about the denim series I was working on, she offered to supply me with the clothing I needed. I raided her stock and found a virtual denim goldmine, each piece’s fabric unique in its appearance. I’m lucky to have found a reliable supplier without any difficulty and even more so to have such quality source material at my disposal."

"The decision to make only the flaps and pockets of each bag in the line from salvaged denim came about for several reasons. The source material for each bag is an individual article of clothing, mostly likely a skirt or a pair of jeans, neither being large enough to yield enough fabric for an entire bag. Regardless of the limited fabric there is to work with, my initial feelings about the original backpack I made for myself still apply to the bags I make for this line. I want each bag to have a kind of subdued individuality. Black, grey or blue treated denim paired with black or brown cordura is as complimentary to one’s wardrobe as the pair of jeans you wear on a daily basis without seeming over the top or matchy. "

"The most surprising thing I’ve discovered about using salvaged denim clothing is the how grateful I am to be able to incorporate their seams in to the design of the bag. They add an interesting symmetry and texturized feeling to the final product that a plain seamless flap or pocket would lack. Seams also serve as a reminder that the fabric used once had another purpose altogether, recalling the article of clothing it once was in a far more subtle--and in my opinion, less tacky--way than the use of an intact back pocket or waist band from a pair of jeans."

"Some could easily write off acid and stonewashed denim as relics, one of the many ghosts of far-gone fads that should have never been resurrected. Treated denim, like so many trends of our recent fashion past, should be judged only on its potential to be overdone. With this series I hope to show that there is a subtle, modern-classic quality to treated denim and that quality alone should prevent it from being written off as yet another outdated look."

Sonrisa's Denim Collection is available here, and is being updated to include almost all of our current bag sizes. Some models also feature custom denim messenger pads!

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Bags of the Living Dead

A brand new series by Gerik Forston! In the words of the artist:

"There's really no more socially acceptable way of presenting blood, guts and gore than through zombies. Whether they are half-rotten corpses risen from the grave or are living but infected by a cannibalism-inducing virus dooming humanity to eat itself, zombies just can't seem to get gross enough. Year after year, new and more terrifyingly disgusting depictions off the walking undead come to theaters and we (generally) love it. Each new portrayal attempts to outdo the last, both in sheer gore and in interesting new ways and rules that zombies can come into existence. One has to wonder at what point this progression comes to a head at the ultimate movie simply showing frame after frame of exploding corpse heads."

"I've also always been drawn to the surreal idea of the Dead "living" ordinary existences (this is direction the grey and celery designs have gone). What if they really do take over the Earth? What then? I always assumed they'd just pick up where they left off before they died. But as much as I enjoy the visceral nature of these depictions of zombies, I always come back to wanting to see blood and guts (specifically being pulled fresh from the torso of an unidentified corpse, ha). In my personal zombie apocalypse I don't see any reason why there can't be both. I mean, even while they continue to go to work and school, hang out with friends, bond with the family, dance and play games, they've still got to eat!"

So far the series is four bags deep, and Gerik has plans for a few more in the time leading up to halloween. you can find them in the collections section of our website.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Woodgrain Collection

We are proud to introduce our new Woodgrain Collection, completely designed and hand-printed by Senior stitcher Brieann Tracey! While discussing the collection and its eventual release, Brie spoke about a number of the factors and issues that she came across along journey from initial thoughts to executed design.....

"So the woodgrain collection was born about 6 months ago. I started the drawing, which was about 11 inches by about 3 for each panel, and there are two panels. I drew it so that the lines of the grain lined up with the end of the other panel, so that essentially you could take the two pieces lengthwise, and have one continuous wood panel. Then I blew it up in photoshop and had Awesome Dudes make my silk screen for me."

"At first, I experimented on printing whatever I had on hand: living room curtains, a Softpack i made for myself, my bathing suit, a big wall piece on canvas for the Fabric Horse shop, more canvas for a home made ottoman for the living room, tee shirts for an art show. I even "framed" a map i printed with the woodgrain and stuck little copper tacks in parts of it so it looked more like real wood."

"When I think about where it all came from, I think of the work that led up to it. For a few years I had been working on prints that were versions of animals or just nature in general: tiny paisley birds, big gold leafed paisley hammerhead sharks , octopi, etc. I am very interested in shapes that occur naturally, and I think that woodgrain is such a unique and beautiful pattern. It is never the same; it's very complex. It even ages and becomes more entangled in itself as time goes on."

"I thought that that wood grain pattern would look good on a lot things, everything I mentioned above and more. If i were versed on how to do upholstry, i would have a wood grain couch. In the meantime, i plan on doing another drawing of different grain and making some one of a kind hoodies."

"After making my Softpack with the woodgrain print, I thought that that would be a nice option for people to be able to order it from R.E.Load. I collaborated with a friend for his bag; he designed the flap and I printed the pockets and base for him (bag pictured here)

"Once we all decided the collection should happen for real, I just stuck with colors that were pretty natural. I love bags that are pretty much monochromatic and just have different shades of the same color, or at least are in the same family. I am more of a warm color person i think, and that is also what makes me choose the colors that I do. I also have a funny habit of trying to make or relate things to food. For example, an all brown and tan woodgrain bag might look like a peanut butter cup or some sort of chocolate cake to me, and that makes it more enjoyable for me to look at...which in turn makes it a more desirable bag to have...ha!"

The series is slated to have at least two color ways - you can check them out on our site as we speak - and we are going to spread them across the whole range of models. So don't worry if you don't see the specific model you're looking for right away. We should be rolling out the rest of the range by late August. Subsequent models will feature full printed flaps to go along with the printed pockets.

Friday, June 26, 2009

:: New Website ::

It's been a VERY long time coming, but it's finally here! Our brand new website is up, and we're still working hard to continue uploading products and improve the user interface. We have a new "Build Your Bag" section that actually allows you to chose all of your options and submit and order completely online. And there is finally PayPal integration. Go check it out, and feel free to fire feedback at us regarding anything at all, be it bugs or praise! reloadbags.com

Friday, April 17, 2009

:: New Totes ::

I think we're really going to try and keep a bunch of tote bags in stock these days....we're offerring them now at the introductory price of $45 (10% off), check the site!

Thursday, April 02, 2009

:: Waxed Canvas Bags at Shop Gentei ::

Just in case anybody missed this....a little while ago we made a batch of custom bags for Baltimore's Shop Gentei. They feature waxed canvas exteriors and a three-ply construction with a super-soft plaid flannel interior layer. Silk screened bases. Basically the butters. So go check 'em out here

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

:: Miles Davis Music Series Bag ::

I remember when I was a kid, my parents used to go to the Newport Jazz Festival. My dad would always come back talking about Miles Davis and how he'd kinda hang out in the background, come forward and play for a few minutes, then wander off backstage. I'm sure he also said a lot of other things about Miles, but for some reason this is the thing that stuck with me most....actually, I hadn't really thought about it much until I sat down to write about Davis for this posting.

For most, it is this enigmatic quality that first comes to mind when thinking of Miles Davis. Born in 1926, Davis played with Charlie Parker in the late 1940's. A decade later, he formed a quintet with John Coltrane, Red Garland, Paul Chambers, and Philly Joe Jones. This version of "Milestones" showcases the talents of Davis and Coltrane.

Although the group would see a change in several members over the next few years, he went on to record the legendary - and best-selling jazz album of all time - "Kind of Blue" in 1959. I'll let some people far more qualified than myself talk about this recording

Davis' second quintet consisted of himself, Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, Tony Williams, and Ron Carter. To say this was an all-star lineup would be an understatement. Here's "Agitation" from the album "E.S.P."

As with all musicians with any longevity, Davis changed his style from album to album, year to year. During the sixties he release "In a Silent Way" (actually one of my favorite albums) and "Bitches Brew", helping to usher in a new sound that would come to be known as "fusion". Although the title track of "In a Silent Way" is a beautiful, slowly-building piece, this video drops in on my favorite part, so i went with it

in 1972, Miles released "On the Corner", and album with a decidedly stronger focus on funk and rock. This was not necessarily seen as a positive thing by critics at the time. However, it proved the progressive nature of Davis as an artist.

Through the late seventies, Miles Davis actually disappeared from the scene. This was due to a number of factors including drugs, physical problems not related to drugs, and psychological issues. However, he resurfaced in the early eighties and recorded several more albums. Since this was actually during my youth, the one I remember was "Amandla", released in 1989. Here, you can also see his trademark style; he was known to show up in what would be considered "daring" getup at the time. Note that this extended even to his customized trumpet.

Davis passed away in 1991.

Monday, March 30, 2009

:: Bikerumor.com Likes our Midpack ::

We really couldn't have asked for a more positive review ....actually, we've been doing some follow-up surveys with other recent customers, and the general consensus is that the new Midpack design is "awesome". Now you guys know why it took so long to release it!

:: Bags of the Week ::

Brie's "Vintage Flowers" Civilian, Gerik's "Leopard" Civilian, and Bea's "Ruckus" Softpack. Fresh from under the needles and available in our custom stock section!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Monster Track Goldsprints coming soon!!!

Straight from Chris Kim:


We are coming your way! Sunday February 22.

MTX GoldsprintsNYC Qualifier
TOP 3 times win places in the Finals at the MonsterTrack X after-party plus travel and hospitality

Institute Bar
549 N. 12th Street (at Green, one block north of Spring Garden)

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

:: DJ Premier Music Series Bag ::


Ok, before we get started....I have to start a new bag series. I love - LOVE - doing the Music Tribute series, and have absolutely no plans of stopping with that. However, these days I'm finding that more and more I want to make bags based on the people I'm most excited about RIGHT THIS MINUTE. Which doesn't really correspond to "legends" of music, in a lot of cases.

For the most part, I listen to hip hop. That's always been the case, since about 7th grade. So, I'm lucky enough to have been around for the early years - what some would call the "golden years" - when De La Soul, Tribe Called Quest, Eric B. and Rakim, Organized Konfusion, Main Source, Black Sheep, etc. were getting air play. By the way, I'm coming off the top of the head here, so please don't look very deep into that little list of names I spouted; there are many, many names that would be added to that list but I don't really have the time or the space to expound upon that right this second. Suffice to say, while there are a whole of candidates within the world of hip hop that I feel can be added to the category of "legend of music" in general (I've already done Dilla and Rakim), there are a whole lot more people I can think of who have been banging stuff out for years but have only just begun. Mostly I'm focusing on hip hop production, as that's what I've been into these days.

Black Milk. Ta'raach. Waajeed. Khrysis. 9th Wonder. Sa-Ra. J Rawls. Kev Brown. Oddissee. The list goes on. Anyway, I'm probably going to feel the urge to make a few bags based on these guys. I'm not really sure how I'll do it; I might make "regional" bags (for instance putting out a Detroit bag featuring Waajeed and Black Milk), or I might actually go ahead and do individual ones. I don't know. But they're coming.

Now on to the topic at hand: DJ Premier (aka Primo, Preem, Premo, or probably any other misspelled variation you can think of). I went off on that ramble, actually, because he is an artist that can fit into the category of "legend" OR "hot right now". Because his beats have been hot for years. I actually found some production credits for things I had absolutely no idea he had been involved with! I knew he'd first broken into the scene with Gangstarr (he and Guru dropped their first album together in '89). However, I quickly found out that he had worked with Lord Finesse in 1990 on a remix of "Funky Technician". He worked with Ice T in '91. He worked on the "Blue Funk" album for Heavy D in 1992 (young cats, trust me, Heavy D was a shoe-in for hits at that time) along with Pete Rock. He did stuff with Soul II Soul that year too.

Of course, he's best known for his work as one half of Gangstarr. Right from the start, he created his trademark imprint on the single "Words I Manifest" (Robbie, I hope you're reading this somehow). He's widely known for creating choruses by cutting and scratching lyrical samples rather that having the mc (in this case, Guru) actually rhyme out a chorus. In this song, he simply cut up one line, but as the years went by, he became an absolute monster with the technique. There's some later tracks where he pulls up half a dozen or more amazing, relevant samples and strings them into a perfect chorus.

I had a hard time trying to decide whether or not to include clips of just his instrumental versions (since he never really gets on the mic) or to go go ahead and put the full tracks with the mc's up. In the end, I went with the latter. Mainly because one of his strengths has always been his ability to fit the track to the mc. And he's worked with a ton of 'em. I'll get back to the Gangstarr in a second, but in my mind, one of the sickest tracks ever was the beat he put together for Jeru the Damaja on Jeru's debut album "The Sun Rises in the East".

I can't even imagine anybody else making something this dirty, and it matches Jeru's voice and cadence PERFECTLY. When this came out in 94, my friends and I completely lost our minds. Mostly because it was the followup track to another of hip hops best beats ever: "Come Clean", also by Jeru. Also produced by Premo. Oh, what do you know! Thanks to the wonders of YouTube, I'm just going to put up this video somebody made of Jeru's whole album, taken in snippets. A good, quick way to check out the production across the whole thing, which is masterful. (Be aware, this album has profanity! If you don't want to hear it don't click! Yeah, this pretty much goes for the rest of the clips after this too.)

Getting back to Gangstarr....I can't even come close to listing all of the amazing beats Premier put out for Guru to flow over. but I think it says a lot of Premier that he was able to tailor his production to the deep monotone flow that Guru brought to the table. And - much like Jeru, who is still (for better or worse) making music today - you can see the difference in quality when Guru rhymes over a Premo beat versus somebody else's beat. Ummm....Jazzmatazz series, anybody? All kidding aside, it's just not the same. Premier made mc's better, period.

OK, I'm just going to say this: All of Gangstarr's albums, from 1989's "No More Mr. Nice Guy" all the way through 1998's "Moment of Truth" have banging production from Premier. Honestly, I left their last album ("The Ownerz") on the rack, so don't ask me about that one please.

Premo has made hits with more relevant artists than possibly any other producer in hip hop today. I'm going to leave that statement sitting on this screen while I keep writing, and see if in the end, I can think of somebody else who trumps him....anyway, he worked with KRS-One in 1993 on his album "Return of the Boom Bap", which kept KRS in the game after the end of the Boogie Down Productions (BDP) era.

He produced Mobb Deep's first single ("Peer Pressure"). He made arguably one of the best beats on arguably one of the best hip hop albums ever...."New York State of Mind" off of Nas' 1992 debut "Illmatic":

He made some of the craziest beats for another guy that some would consider the illest of all time: Biggie. Tracks including "Unbelievable", "Kick in the Door", and "Ten Crack Commandments" remain classics to this day...as much due to Premo's work as due to the lyrics and flow of the late B.I.G.

Add to the list Das Efx, Fat Joe, Jay Z, Rakim, Brand Nubian, Mos Def, Big L, Common, Dilated Peoples, Snoop Dogg, Ol' Dirty Bastard, Kanye West, and Kool G Rap. Just to, you know, name a few of the other luminaries that have benefitted from Premier productions.

On a side note, I really wish that a) Storch had never gotten hold of Fat Joe and b) Pun was still around.

This is getting pretty long, but I can't really skip the fact that along with the big names, Premier was always down with the groups that didn't really get a lot of radio play, but were loved by the "core" of hip hop fans. There's a quote that stuck with me while I was watching the "Beat Kings" documentary DVD. Premo is talking about the state of hip hop, and to paraphrase, he basically says "There's no such thing as weak hip hop. There's hip hop, and then there's weak music." This is something he really takes to heart, and it's apparent in the collaborations he's done with all different types of people. Reflected in his work with "underground" legends such as Group Home:

and M.O.P.

and Show & AG

and Bahamadia

he brought in his whole crew from the famed D+D studios for this one

and not-so-much-legends like Paula Perry somehow got blessed with this amazing track

To this day, he continues to provide heat for artists big and small, such as "So Amazing" from Termanology's 2008 "Politics as Usual"

That's probably enough for now....aside from hip hop, he's done tracks for Janet Jackson, Christina Aquilera, Alicia Keys, and many other artists to boot. He'll probably be rocking that MP-60 for a long time to come.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

:: New Obama Bag Video ::

i actually made this video back in November while I was making the prize bag for the D.C. Obama Alleycat race. It's the first (and only) video I've ever made, and honestly I wasn't too sure if I'd ever put it up. Lately though, I've felt like I might as well, and the beginning of the Obama era seemed like a great time to do it. Enjoy!

Friday, January 16, 2009

:: Stevie Wonder Music Tribute Bag!! ::

One of the purest signs that I go by when I think of who I need to make a tribute bag for in my Music Series is whether or not I instantly become overwhelmed by emotion when I think of the artist in question. In this particular case - the incomparable genius that is Stevie Wonder - there is absolutely no doubt whatsoever. Just thinking about some of the music that he has put out over the years literally makes my heart warm. In fact, he was one of the first people that I thought of when the series was first conceived over a year ago. I can't really say what took me so long....well, part of it was definitely hesitation as far as what the graphic itself would look like. He's been through so many periods and styles that I honestly couldn't decide which iteration of Stevie that I wanted to go with! Finally - about a week ago - I realized that I really wanted to do another J Dilla bag (actually, I think I could do a Dilla bag every week and not get tired of it). And if this was the case - I was starting to set up and prep a second Dilla bag (I kept the first one, as he is my favorite producer of all time), I could easily justify eventually making more Stevie Wonder bags with different graphics as well. So, I chose a pic and work began.

For an artist as well-known as Stevie, there's of course a ton of biographical information and pictures scattered across the internet, so I won't go too deep into his history. Instead, I'll just share how I feel about his music personally. I can remember back when I was in college; I hung out with a friend a few times and we got on the subject of music. I mentioned Stevie and she says "the guy from 'Woman in Red' (80's movie starring Gene Wilder and Kelly Lebrock in case you don't know)?!? He SUCKS!" Instantly my whole attitude towards her changed! I mean, you don't have to love him, but to hate him? I feel bad for anybody whose image of Stevie is based on that movie or hearing "I Just Called to Say I Love You" alone. The man dropped classic album after classic album for almost two decades from the late sixties through the early eighties....the "Woman in Red" soundtrack (which isn't even bad per se, just not up to his regular standards) aside, you could extend this through to his 1985 release "in Square Circle", which, although not usually grouped in with legendary LP's such as "Innervisions", "Songs in the Key of Life", and "Musiquarium:, happens to be one of my favorites.

Anyway, the real thing about Stevie Wonder, as far as I am concerned, is the range of emotions that his music possesses. Seriously; regardless of what your mood is - maybe you just broke up with your girl, maybe you just caught up with an old friend, maybe you just fell in love, maybe you're thinking about what to do with your future - he's got you covered with something. He's been there just about every time my life has really gotten rough. He's got songs for when you're sad and need to feel better, or for when you're sad and just want to stew in your sadness for a while longer.

Selecting just a few tracks from his body of work is a bit difficult, so I'm just going to go with a few personal favorites....First up is "That Girl" off of his "Musiquarium" double album from 1982. The quality on this video isn't that great, but i just love the fact that it's live from '82.

"Living for the City" is from his 1973 release "Innervisions". This video is best watched while wearing headphones (edit - actually all of these are best played loud with headphones)!!! I love this version.

This next one I actually chose for the second song in the video: "Maybe Your Baby", which is taken off of his 1972 LP "Talking Book". The version was just too sick to pass up. Not that the first song - "Superstition", which is off of the same album - is bad by any means, but it's not one I would have chosen given the small scope of this post.

"Superwoman (where were you when I needed you)", off of "Music of my Mind" is one of my favorite Stevie Wonder cuts. Check for the transition at about 3:00....and the buildup near the end is absolutely ridiculous.

I could probably fill this up with about 40 songs pretty easily....I'll just leave it with this last one: "Love Having You Around", again off of "Music of My Mind".

I think I'll probably spend another few hours just on YouTube with these other videos! Hope you've enjoyed 'em!

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

:: Chuey x R.E.Load Hats ::

Chuey and I talked a little while ago about doing some sort of collaboration hats for the New Year....well, they're done. And they're ridiculous. I just got these flicks from Chuey himself, and although we wont have the hats physically in our hands for another couple of days, I couldn't help myself from posting this up right now. These hats are AMAZING!!!! They're wool, with ear flaps, hand-printed and stitched, and there's only 50 of them. Check out for them in the clothing section of our web site by the end of the week!

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

:: Minipacks!!! ::

The wait is officially over! Our new Minipacks are done, and ready for sale....you can order a custom one to your own color specs (just email us) , or grab a stock color way option (they should be up pretty soon in stock formats on the collections page). Either way, they're redesigned in the mold of their older sibling, the Midpack. Fully weatherproof with a brand new fold-over flap for complete coverage. Mesh side pockets for water bottles. Inside organizer pocket and inside rear full-length pocket for folders, laptops, whatever. And a huge waterproof outside bellows pocket for everything else. With closed-cell foam shoulder straps featuring adjustable sternum straps and d-rings, and a padded back panel, this thing is ready for your daily expeditions. 15" h x 12" w x 5"d.

:: New Softpack Release ::

The completely new-for-2009 Softpack model is finally ready for release, and apparently not a moment too soon! We actually made a bunch of these to put up on the site for the Holiday rush, and they sold out of the store before we could even get most of them up on the site. The concept is pretty simple, and is based almost entirely on customer requests from the past few years: A small, lightweight, durable pack that can replace regular "knapsacks" and is made entirely in the U.S. Introducing - for your wearing pleasure - the R.E.Load Softpack.

The Softpack shares the exact dimensions of our new Minipack (15" h x 12" w x 5"d), as well as the same redesigned shoulder straps (anatomically-molded closed cell foam with an adjustable sternum strap and d-rings for keys and such). As well as a padded closed cell foam back panel for comfort. And it has the same redesigned fold-over flap and upper side compression straps. However, as opposed to the Minipack's vinyl-coated nylon liner, the Softpack boasts a pack cloth liner that, although not fully weatherproof like the Minipack, remains waaaay more water-resistant than the average school pack. Meaning, unless you stay out in the rain for a long time , your stuff will still be dry. And - taking a queue from the successful Dash/Sprint releases, the Softpack features three flat, velcro-free pockets on the front of the bag as well as the inside. Plenty of room for all of your valuables.

This new bag is super-light (about half the weight of our Minipack, at 1.8 lbs!), and super-soft and comfortable. We've gotten great reviews already from the ones we've sold so far...you can order yours in the "collections" pages of our website!