Military-grade materials fused with an urban-savvy style – this Polish brand have created bags that tick all our boxes
When Ania Migacz, founder of CARGO by OWEE, rings her manufacturer to check in on progress, there’s sometimes a bit of an issue. You see, the factory their bags are made in also supplies to militaries all over the world, including the British Army. And when one of those clients has a query or needs something made pronto, it tends to take priority.
The reason for this is that CARGO’s bags are made from exactly the same stuff as military-grade equipment: CORDURA® fabric. It’s a ludicrously tough material that’s also lightweight and long-lasting – it’s the reason that so many outdoor brands have favoured CORDURA®, from The North Face to Carhartt. When it comes to making high-quality products, you can’t get much better than the fabric used to protect and support servicemen and women in war zones across the globe. And when it comes to high-quality bags, you can’t get much better than CARGO by OWEE.
Quality was exactly what Ania had in mind when she first envisaged CARGO. At the time she was working for a large advertising agency in Poland but had just had a baby (OWEE is an anagram of his name, by the way) and was growing increasingly disillusioned with working in what she considered a pretty uninspiring environment. She wanted to create something with real meaning; something where her hard work would be appreciated and could make a difference to people.
As someone living and commuting in a big city, Ania had identified a gap in the market that she could claim – bags that are stylish enough for urban living but durable enough to handle daily use, and use while travelling or adventuring in the great outdoors. You know, the kind of bag that can front up to a weekend camping and then slot neatly into an overhead locker for a business trip, all without missing a beat.
Identifying a material that could handle those specifications actually turned out to be pretty easy, as covered above. CORDURA® was tough to offer that badass construction that Ania was looking for and versatile enough to be woven into a range of shapes and sizes. When designing the bags, Ania included features for city-living – padded laptop sleeves, reflective studs for safety at night, multiple zipped pockets – and then made sure that each bag could handle getting roughed up day-in, day-out. In fact, each and every bag can carry up to 60kg of damned-near-whatever-the-hell-you-want.
The designs finished, Ania pushed ahead with getting the first prototypes made. Thing is, no factory will take on an order of just one backpack when the designs are completely new and feature technical fabrics. She’d need to place an order for a full 50 bags. Having recently both given birth and quit her job, this was no small investment from Ania – but she was so convinced that the bags she’d designed were worth it, she pressed on and placed the order.
She’d nailed it first time round. Those 50 backpacks are still in use today and the design has barely changed – in fact, the range has been expanded to include tote bags for urban exploring and sailor bags for long-haul travel. That fusion of style and substance is what’s had CARGO growing from strength to strength, and they’re showing no signs of slowing down. It’s what happens when you combine Batman’s military-grade toughness with Bruce Wayne’s sartorial style.