Dec 122014

Adam Marelli x Slow Tools 

Camera Bag Collaboration

New York City/Osaka

Slow Tools © Adam Marelli-5

Slow Tools shop in Osaka, Japan.  © Adam Marelli

One Year of Testing

In the summer of 2013, I met Ichiro Nitta at the Capsule Trade show here in New York City.  He represents a boutique bag manufacturer out of Osaka Japan, named Slow Tools.  In their collection, a small canvas shoulder bag caught my eye.  The bag was unstructured, beautifully made, and almost perfect for a Leica travel kit.  But Slow Tools was only showing their goods, they were not selling anything.  I went home empty handed, but curious to visit them in Japan and see how their bags would work as an alternative to all the other camera bags on the market.

Slow Tools © Adam Marelli-5

Slow Tools window front.  © Adam Marelli


Four months later, I arrived at Hotel Anteroom, in Kyoto.  Masako, said, “Mr. Marelli, we have a package you.”  Ichiro sent a small shoulder bag which I planned to test for one year.  Being a photographer and not a bag company, I can entertain long testing periods without the pressures of bottom lines and quick turnarounds.

Camera bags should be cool.  They should be an exciting companion to a camera, something we want to take around on a daily basis.  My biggest disappointment with many of the products I encounter is that they feel rushed, designed for everyone, and lacking the small touches that make a piece feel unique.  With no timetable, I wanted to use the bag for one year to discover its DNA and understand what I would change if I could design it myself.

Slow Tools © Adam Marelli-5

Slow Tools tote.  © Adam Marelli


Over the course of 2014, I traveled almost 100,000 miles and the Slow Tools bag came everywhere with me.  It was dressed up for dinners, poked and prodded at Customs, and became my daily bag at home in New York City.  We were inseparable.  But like a much loved teddy bear, the canvas edging and back panel started to show signs of wear, which is why this year, I set up a trip to Osaka to fix the trouble spots, make some changes, and create a bag that was unique in style and construction.  If the bag could be adapted to meet the needs of photographers like me, why couldn’t it work for someone like you?

Slow Tools © Adam Marelli-5

Slow Tools ground floor.  © Adam Marelli

Design meeting in Osaka

Slow Tools and I sat down with swatches of canvas, leather, a full kit of Leica gear, pens, and notebooks to create a camera bag for photographers who hate camera bags.  The prototypes just arrived in New York this week.  You can expect to see them up on the site next week (pre-orders will be available.)

Slow Tools © Adam Marelli-5

Slow Tools bags.   © Adam Marelli

What did I want to change?

1.  Silhouette. The problem with most camera bags is that they look like camera bags.  They share more in common with the “ubiquitous black rolly bag” than anything you would want to claim as your own.  I’m a wool, canvas, & leather sort of guy who appreciates a fabric that breaks in over time, reflects a personal style, and would never be mistaken as something you could buy in bulk.

2.  Padding…this is a point where I differ from almost the entire photography world, but I don’t like padding.  Most of the time my bag is empty because the camera is in my hand.  The idea was to create a durable, light bag, that would not feel like dead weight after a day of shooting.  When I do put the camera in the bag, it’s only in transit or when I sit at a restaurant.  I try not to bang it against things because if I had to choose weight over padding, I would choose light weight any day.

3.  Materials.  There is a growing trend to make things that don’t patina.  It must be the influence of plastic surgery on our culture.  But I like things that age…I’m a vintage watch guy, I prefer my leather to feel like it was inherited and my bags to look like they have been around the world a few times.  The golden era of bag design ended after World War 2.  The combination of heavy duty canvas and beautifully tanned leather used on steamers, train travel, and for diplomatic persuasion (yes, war)  is as good as it gets.  Keep the carbon fiber, kevlar, and composites for Formula One cars and trips to the moon.

Limited Edition

The bags will be individually numbered and offered exclusively through this website.

Prototypes of the new Adam Marelli x Slow Tools Camera Bag Medium © Adam Marelli

Prototypes of the new Adam Marelli x Slow Tools Camera Bag Medium © Adam Marelli


Next week there will be images of the new bags, complete with specs and pricing.  The estimated delivery of the bags is looking like February or March of 2015.

To order a bag, drop us a line at:

Look forward to sharing them with you!

Best-Adam Marelli

  22 Responses to “Adam Marelli x Slow Tools Camera Bag Collaboration”

  1. Count me in Adam. The first one for Australia. Best wishes to you and Stacey for Christmas and the New Year

    • For sure Peter! Hey and that audio response you sent me a while back, which I would love to hear, never opened….

      Lets connect on that.

      Best to you and Rosie!

  2. Adam,

    What is the dimension of the bag? Could it fit an iPad Air and a Fuji x100s?


    • Hi Laleng,
      The medium bag will definitely fit an iPad air and a fuji x100s.

      The full dimensions will be up later this week, this way you can confirm if the smaller bag could fit your iPad too.


  3. I’m going to take a leap of faith and take whatever bag you think would work for a guy that drags his 3 little boys around to take pictures of stuff they think they’d like to explore. Count me in.

    • Hi Jason,
      Either size will work for you, but maybe the medium is better…in case you need to carry around some reinforcements with the small army of boys.

  4. I’d like to have one too.

  5. Looks great!

    Would love to buy one too

  6. Hi Adam,
    I want to be the first one in Italy.


  7. You know I’m down for one of these! I feel like the “Materials” paragraph could have come out of my own brain. I especially liked, “Keep the carbon fiber, kevlar, and composites for Formula One cars and trips to the moon.”


    • Hi Joey,
      Glad you appreciated the materials section…thought you would enjoy it. Both bags will be posted with photos later this week (check Friday) where you can see them in depth.

  8. Are you still doing a smaller bag alongside the larger one Adam? If so count me in for a small and if they were ready by the end of Jan I could pick it up from you in NY.

    • Hi Darell,
      Yes I am doing a small and a medium size. They will be ready by Feb-March…to be on the safe side I would lean closer to March. But will be happy to get together when you come to NYC.

  9. Adam: Please count me in! (Perth).

  10. Adam:
    Where do I order a small bag? I tried going to the e-mail you post but couldn’t get through.


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