Rock Out With a Lo & Sons Playlist

There’s a reason the names “Derek” and “Jan” start with D and J.



When Derek and Jan Lo aren’t making killer travel totes and overnight bags with their mom Helen, the brothers are likely DJing on New York’s Lower East Side. (Yes, we totally wish the Lo matriarch was in the booth, too.) To show off those skills, they’ve pulled together a compilation of songs inspired by their Of a Kind edition, the Windsor Camera Bag. “I think what really makes our bags special is that we’ve managed to bridge conflicting ideas in an elegant way—it’s extremely hard to find that balance of style and substance,” Derek explains. “So we chose music from modern artists who either have paved their own path in a unique way, or bridged genres in a creative and sophisticated fashion.” —olivia seely

To listen to the whole playlist, head on over to Spotify.

“Machu Picchu” by The Strokes
Jan: “The bassist used to sometimes DJ at the same L.E.S. bar where I used to DJ—obviously his night was way better.”

“L.E.S. Artistes” by Santigold
Jan: “Later, when I was living and DJing in Beijing, it often tripped me out realizing small and interconnected the world is. Thanks, interwebz!”

“Cherry Wine” by Nas, featuring Amy Winehouse
Jan: “Who can’t relate to that yearning for that something real, which definitely seems more elusive as one gets older and more successful?”

“Mushaboom” by Feist
Derek: “If you don’t feel a little cheerier after listening to this, you are not human.”

“Groove Me” by Maximum Balloon, featuring Theophilus London
Derek: “One of the few electro-rap tracks that gets me going.”

“Lost” by Frank Ocean
Derek: Stories make the best songs.

“Get Free” by Major Lazer
Jan: “After Hurricane Sandy, the song definitely took on a different level of resonance with the imagery of the levees breaking.”

“Myth” by Beach House
Jan: “Happened to re-listen to this song with some friends right before Sandy, back when the hurricane reports still did not seem fully real.”

“Get Some” by Lykke Li
Derek: “This is like an emo version of ‘Shake, Rattle & Roll,’—yet it’s so good.”

“Staring At The Sun” by TV On The Radio
Derek: “It’s so damn dramatic, poetic, and just plain epic.”

“Faster” by Janelle Monáe
Derek: “My favorite modern-day jitterbug beat.”

“Video Games” by Lana Del Rey
Derek: “Anthemic love song.”

“Two Weeks” by Grizzly Bear
Jan: “I remember first mixing this song in after a mini Southern rap set—and the hipster kids lost their proverbial shit.”

Get the edition Lo & Sons made us! This camera bag is as cool as they come.

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Lo & Sons

Mom and business partner are one in the same for Derek (bottom) and Jan Lo (middle)—or at least they have been since Helen Lo, a hardcore traveler, realized that there were no stylish, lightweight carryalls out there for women. She appealed to her two sons for help, and, a year and a half of prodding later in 2010, she got them on board: Derek ditched his ad job, Jan left his product-design position, and the trio launched a collection of plane-ready bags that look good and work hard. “We didn’t set out to create a fashion brand,” Derek says. “We realized the need and created a product that was able to fulfill it. It’s purely functional at the center.”

Helen is at the helm, with Jan running design, production, and strategy, and Derek utilizing his marketing expertise to get the word out. But that’s just semantics. What makes Lo & Sons unique is their focus on human-centered design—a hip term for creating cool bags that really do make life easier. “Instead of producing a bag based only on what we think is great as designers, we do multiple rounds of prototype testing to see how the actual experience of using our bags can be more intuitive and useful,” Derek explains of their process—basically, the new version of kid-tested, mother-approved. —olivia seely

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Peek Inside the Lo & Sons Family Travel Album

Central Illinois, Taipei, and everything in between.

The line Lo & Sons is all about travel—and the bags you need to do it right. Derek and Jan Lo, who started the company with their mom Helen (yes, sweetest thing ever) in 2010 have done a lot of it, moving around plenty as kids and skipping across the globe as adults. Here, the stories behind some of their favorite, family-bonding excursions. —olivia seely 

Derek: “This was a cute one of us when we were little. We were moving from L.A. to Champaign, Illinois, and we drove the whole way in a Volvo station wagon.”

Jan: “We fought the entire way.”

Derek: “I guess we look pretty happy here because we were close to our final destination.”

Jan: “And we’re pretty stylish. We have the whole hipster thing covered from an early age. The suspenders, the plaid, the cuffed pants…”

Derek: “Because our dad is an astronomer, we traveled to a lot of different telescope locations. This is a picture of a very large telescope center in New Mexico that we went to during a Christmas vacation. At first I was skeptical. But when we got there, it was pretty incredible.”

Jan: “Our dad’s claim to fame is that he discovered the black hole in the center of our universe. He spent ten years as the director of the National Radio Astronomy Observatory in Charlottesville, Virginia. His profession is a big reason why we’ve lived in so many places growing up.”

Derek: “When our mom retired, she started traveling a lot with my dad. She was looking for a lightweight travel bag that was stylish and practical, and that’s how the idea for Lo & Sons was born!”

Derek: “Here Jan and I are at the Great Wall. After I graduated high school, I took a trip to Hong Kong, Beijing, and Shanghai. It was my first time in Mainland China. Actually, it was Jan’s first time, too—which is interesting because he ended up moving there and living there for four years.”

Derek: “When we were growing up, my grandmother would live part of the year in Honolulu. We were fortunate enough to travel there and visit her on vacations. Jan and I just recently went there in October.”

Derek: “In this picture my mom, dad, and I are riding elephants in Thailand. This was years ago, during Y2K in 2000. We were really nervous that we were taking this trip during that time because everyone thought the world was going to end.”

Derek: “Here we are with our mom at the Sun Yat-sen Memorial in Nanjing. I went to high school in Taiwan, and my parents lived there for six or seven years. It was a life changing experience because I went from living in a small town in central Illinois to a big city in Asia. I went to an American school, and I was in a soccer league where we would drive hours to play other teams in other countries.”

Jan: “I didn’t get to go to Bangkok and play soccer tournaments.”

Get your hands on the travel-ready Lo & Sons edition! This camera bag is the epitome of practical-meets-chic.

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