When I talk about wallets, what comes to mind? Something elegant, made of leather, sliding smoothly out of the back pocket and discreetly holding its secrets without revealing them? If you’ve always had an eye for a good wallet, then my sincerest congratulations to you.
PROBLEM: WALLETS CAN BE CHEAP AND ANONYMOUS.
For me, wallets have always been about function over form. I have to take my wallet out of its resting place so many separate times in a day, that it’s got to hold everything perfectly and just plain work. Most wallets do this, to a degree—but do they do it for long?
Not really. If you’re the type that can’t buy an expensive wallet because you know you’ll be sitting on it, and moving your rear end in and out of various chairs all day, visiting god knows what sorts of stresses and strains on this little leather thing that contains much of your life—you know what a disintegrating wallet looks like. Leather that no longer seems leather, mysterious pockets that weren’t there a few weeks ago suddenly appearing as the material becomes shredded, torn; you’re likely destined to go through a ton of wallets in your lifetime.
PROBLEM: THEY CAN ALSO BE OVERPRICED AND EXCLUSIVE.
Or are you the cardinal opposite, the wallet connoisseur? Have you always splashed out for a top quality purchase, genuine, beautiful leather, something you can be proud of every time you pull it out of your pocket? If so, you’ve probably paid a damn lot for these things, and either way, used them into oblivion.
PROBLEM: WALLETS AREN’T SO INTERESTING.
While there are a ton of wallets out there, both cheap as all hell and expensive as some other, richer part of hell, most wallets follow the same form. A simple fold, wide enough that each side can hold various debit and credit cards, and the entire span will take your money and papers and put a nice crease right in the middle.
If you’re lucky—or not—your wallet might contain a little pocket for change, which, you will know if you routinely use it, changes shape depending on how many little coins you’re carrying around. Not always fun to have poking into one of your two cheeks.
PROBLEM: THE EUROPEAN-STYLE MEN’S BAG ISN’T REALLY A WALLET, EITHER.
So, is there a solution, a way out of this imaginary problem that I’ve sorta created here? Sure, there are plenty: abandon the wallet and use a sort of bag. If you’re in Europe and need to feel safe-in-numbers when it comes to fashion, you’re in luck, as plenty of people carry these around here, and there are tons of good models to choose from. If you can choose a kind of shoulder/purse/bag/pouch well and choose it with style, you’re set. This opens up a whole new world of accessorizing to you.
But what if you can’t really make that leap? What if you just want to get a damn good looking wallet, one that stands out and is strongly designed, but still functions, looks, and seems like the familiar wallet form you’ve been using your whole life? What’s out there?
PROBLEM: WALLETS DON’T LEND THEMSELVES EASILY TO FRESH, CONTEMPORARY DESIGN.
Not much. There are chain wallets, super-thick wallets, super-thin, minimalist wallets, wallets branded with various comic book characters that just don’t put in the effort, but there aren’t that many interesting wallets around. Sure, you might stumble upon a few fantastic specimens here or there, but most likely they’ll be one-offs, some kind of limited edition from a big designer that is so overpriced it’d be a shame to use it as a regular wallet.
And these are few and far between—you’re far more likely to find a $200 t-shirt done by an expensive designer’s hand, or even a designer canvas tote bag than you are to find a kick-ass wallet.
AND SO, A SOLUTION.
As a fun and exciting answer to all of these problems, I present Poketo. Their slogan: Art for your everyday. That’s exactly it, too: they make wallets that you can use as your everyday wallet, but they’re interesting enough that you can pull them out and simply admire them for their design, too.
SEE, WALLETS CAN BE AS NUMEROUS AND EXCHANGEABLE AS PURSES!
Besides just some great design work, in which Poketo have brought together a whole stable of illustrators and artists to do fantastic limited edition wallets, Poketo have also suggested a kind of revolutionary idea in their ‘surprise packs’. That’s the notion that you can have more than one wallet on the go, that the wallet should be enough of a minimalistic venture that you can switch the entire thing over to another one, just like many females cycle through various purses/handbags and their respective contents.
They do this by not giving you the option of fattening up the wallet too much—its design constricts you into eliminating every kind of card and addition you aren’t going to be using on a daily basis. And the great thing is that 10 of these wallets will only set you back $100. Ten wallets!
AND THERE ARE DOZENS OF NEW MODELS COMING OUT ALL THE TIME.
They’re also constantly producing new wallets from new designers, who are doing these designs freelance. This means the art is both recognizable if you follow illustration in any way, and wildly varied and exciting. Their site is overflowing with great designs.
The construction of the wallet itself is what allows Poketo to do this. It’s not a custom-crafted piece of leather, rather just a nice print, inserted into a piece of plastic, and molded into the form of a foldable wallet. Nothing fancy, no heavy custom printing or stitching jobs here. But it gives the company great creative license in the amount of models they can feature. It’s unlikely you’ll ever see wallets as varied as this, even if they all have the same external shell.
LIMITED EDITIONS DON’T NEED TO SIGNIFY RIDICULOUS PRICES.
Thankfully Poketo isn’t really overcharging for their product, but continues to produce limited editions, which is a concept that I absolutely cannot get enough of: the idea that limited editions don’t need to be expensive. They can be limited, sure, and once they’re off the market you can sell them for whatever the hell you want, but as these wallets keep coming out, they’re gonna keep costing $20 and nothing more.
THUS, POKETO IS GOOD.
And there you have it. Wallets that aren’t your father’s fine-crafted leather, but are instead something closer to a great stream of well-designed t-shirts: you change them up infinitely, they keep coming out, they look great, and they don’t cost that much.
Sure, they aren’t the most well-put-together things in the world, but they signify a big change. Now, pulling out your wallet isn’t just fun because you’re gonna spend some money—you get to stare at it, too.