It's so exciting for me to poke around a busy factory of such an established brand as Tusting; marvelling at all the different machines and jobs to complete one bag, making mental notes of the machine parts that I should be ordering for my studio; it all reassures me that I'm heading in the right direction for my own brand and excitingly, that I'll have a factory of my own to poke around in one day. Don't you love that each workspace had it's own cheesy calendar? Anyway, getting a little off the point, Tusting is the second largest manufacturer in the UK, based in the small town of Bedfordshire, the workers even walk to work from the nearby village! They started their company by importing leather from india in the 1870's and selling shoe soles to companies like Church's -which they still do today; now they have been manufacturing bags for over 130 years, giving them a timeless quality and heritage.
They're even involved with the young British design scene, helping Richard Nicoll design his bags for AW12, with Vodafone. I went to the breakfast launch just under a year ago to hear them talking about 'an exciting new accessory' to be debuted on the runway, so it was fun to see it come around full swing. The bags on the runway were all white and have a battery pack in the botton that can charge various devices, a pretty nifty idea in theory.
After we'd seen the factory, we went for lunch in the village pub where Tusting brought along some bags and leathers and we got to choose our own! I'm excited to show you the finished result when it arrives. We also got to discuss manufacturing in the UK and debate why it's obviously so important for brands to start bringing their factories back. Ella told me that Burberry were planning on returning their factories to England, which would be amazing! Tusting's largest export is Japan, where they go crazy for traditional Western products therefore they must be made in England; I would think this must fall on Burberry as well; when you sell your brand as heritage I think you subconsciously expect these products to be made in the original country, it's time we all realised how much this isn't happening and start bringing our brands back home.