At age 14, Sandast founder Chris Pak packed his bags and traveled from his home in Seoul, South Korea to Los Angeles. After many years spent in the fashion industry, first in retail operations and then distribution, Pak’s long-standing interest in the leather craft, coupled with his own growing collection of bags from a local Army surplus store, spurred the creation of Sandast.
“I was collecting all of these bags from the 1930s and 1940s, and even though they looked so good, any bag that’s been sitting in a warehouse for 70 years will smell a certain way and feel a certain way,” he says. “I wanted to create the same aesthetic using new material.”
So he chose hardware from Italy and France, zippers from Switzerland and leather sourced from Horween in Chicago, one of the oldest tanneries in America. Moreover, each Sandast bag is stitched from individually distressed pieces of leather. “Every cut piece is antiqued by hand. We apply oil and wax, we burnish them and we add patina,” adds Pak. “Our leather craftsmen use these techniques to achieve what we call ‘a new American vintage.’”
Right now, 80 percent of Pak’s retail business is in Asia, but his focus now is on North America. “In Japan we’re sold at Isetan and Hankyu Hanshin. I want to make sure distribution in the U.S. is similarly well protected,” he notes. “Whoever I work with I want to support them. In the long run, I want to make sure they’re successful with the brand. That’s been my philosophy from day one.”