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Our friends over at Kisetsu have been busy once again and continue their fine tradition of churning out brilliantly inventive and beautiful slim wallets at an astounding rate. Following on from their success with both the Haru and Natsu earlier this year, their latest addition - the Aki Wallet - is a little bit more from left-field, but we like what we see so far.
We were big fans of the minimalist stylings of their previous two wallets, but this time the team have gone away from the simple (albeit very well done) card-holder design they have previously employed, and moved on to tackle a Bifold design. We'll be honest, when we hear slim bifold designs being bandied about, we get just a little skeptical. There are a few good examples out there, but the vast majority who tackle the slim bifold concept get it wrong somewhere along the line. Given Kisetsu's previous successes though, we feel we're in reassuringly good hands.
The Aki Wallet combines some of our favourite features from previous Kisetsu wallets into a stylish and sleek looking Bifold. The impressive thumb draw slot from the Haru wallet gets an impressive makeover, and the clever coin pouch that wowed us in the Natsu makes a welcome return here. We'll come on to those features though, the first thing to talk about here is the design of the Aki.
As we have said, the Aki is a Bifold wallet, but it's not your traditional bifold you might find in M&S (or Sears for our American friends). The wallet comes in two different types of leather - Full Grain Nappa Leather or Crazy Horse Leather for the more adventurous. If you're not sure what this is, here's our brief rundown; Crazy Horse Leather (sometimes known as Saddle Leather) is made by applying special waxes to surface of the leather. The effect here is that when rubbed the color will change and does not immediately reverse giving it an antique look. Napa Leather is known for its soft supple feel. Many imitation leathers try and copy this great feel but do not keep the same durability.
The Crazy Horse Leather Bifold is available in only it's natural tan brown, due to the nature of the leather, whereas the Nappa Leather options are Black, Blue or Tan. We're big fans of all these, but have a particular soft spot for the unique aged vintage look of the Crazy Horse Aki Wallet as seen above.
Each wallet contains the small Kisetsu "K" logo embossed in the bottom corner, but is kept relatively plain other than that, allowing the quality leather to do the talking. The back of the wallet though has a clever "Ninja slot" which allows the storage of a card that is totally concealed, but easily accessible with a quick swipe of the thumb. Unlike the rest of the Aki Wallet, this slot is not RFID blocking, so can be used to keep a card handy for quick contactless use without even needing to draw it. It would also make an excellent (and impressive) business card slot.
On the inside of the wallet there is a treasure trove of clever slots and pockets, all designed to facilitate ease of use whilst still keeping things nice and slim. On the right hand side of the interior the first thing you will see is a quick access card slot with an organic curve for easy card access and placement. Behind this is a concealed pocket with space for 8 more cards that you use less frequently, and these can be accessed easily by using the simple but smart pull tab. This allows for a total card carrying capacity of up to 10 card comfortably, probably a few more at a squeeze.
To the left of the card pockets, you will notice a small slot designed to hold a pen. Each reward seems to include at least one pen to slot in here, so you should be set for a little while. But at a push you could always "borrow" one from Argos, or IKEA if your more of a pencil person - not that we are condoning that sort of behavior. A pen in your wallet sounds handy, but whether it would bulk it slightly is yet to be seen - in any case it is an option that can easily be removed depending on your preference.
The next feature we see is a simple elastic strap which allows for the storage of notes. Nothing too complicated here, notes are simply slotted in behind the strap. This means notes are easily accessible and there is no need for folding as is the case in many minimalist wallets, though in previous experience with these types of straps, inserting notes is sometimes slightly tricky.
Behind this strap lies a clever little SIM Card slot which is always handy to have, especially when travelling and perhaps utilising a local SIM card as well as your usual one. We're not exactly sure of the dimensions of it and what size SIM's will fit, or if it could take a small memory card.
The final feature is probably our favourite - the return of the coin pouch that impressed us so much on the Natsu wallet. We should say first off that we're not big fans of storing coins in a wallet like this - it will bulk it out and warp the leather, reducing its lifespan - see what we think you should do with coins instead. However, we know that a lot of people do like to carry coins in their wallet, and if you're going to do so, you might as well do it in style. The coin slot is opened or sealed with a quick swipe of the thumb, which not only looks and feels cool, cuts down the need for ugly and bulk zips or Velcro. If you don't carry coins, you can use this pocket for a key (again probably not going to do the leather much good) or other small things like memory cards and so on. Alternatively, simply leave it empty and forget it's even there.
All in all there are some pretty impressive features packed into this Bifold and if the images on the Kickstarter Page are to be believed, it is all packed into an impressively small package as seen below. The dimensions of it when closed are 9.2cm x 9.8cm and 18.9cm x 9.8cm when open.
The Aki Wallet has already been a huge success on Kickstarter, raising just under $90,000AUD at the time of writing, with just under two weeks to go. Though most of the early-bird rewards have gone, there are still plenty of good rewards to be had, so to find out more or pledge, head over the the Aki Wallet Kickstarter Page, or check out their video below.