The Gladstone London range fuses contemporary aesthetic and functionality with the lost designs and craftsmanship of the 1920s era of ‘London Made’. Our young designers combine function and aesthetic to create timeless and durable designs. All of our products are handcrafted in a small Italian factory near Lake Como to a level of quality only matched by the most renowned superbrands.Our founder, John O’Sullivan has over 30 years of experience working with the likes of MCM and Chanel and in 2015 decided to leverage his in depth knowledge of, and strong network in the fashion and leather goods industry to create Gladstone London; a brand where quality comes first.
“I wanted to showcase my love of craftsmanship and design and pay homage to the artisans who cared and crafted things by hand before mass production.
I have always admired originality in any form, and there are certain artists whose personas inform their work and make it immediately recognisable. After thirty years in the luxury goods industry, I was saddened to see senior craftsmen retire, as I felt strongly that the narrative and skills of these artisans would be lost and forgotten. This started my journey to engage with these craftsmen and revive the lost crafting practices.”
The artistry of leather crafting in England has been built up over the past centuries and is coveted worldwide. Arguably, the height of this craft was reached in the early 20th century in the making of saddles, harnesses and luggage. We have observed that in the produce of this time function and durability were in the fore and the craftsmen developed new techniques and products unperturbed by the hightailed pace of fashion.
Our appreciation for a product that will stand the test of time has resonated with craftsmen and customers alike. Each of Gladstone London’s bags is handmade in a small Italian factory near Lake Como by a team of 10 craftsmen, all dedicated to perfection. In our designs we have conserved stylistic elements of early 20th century leather bags, such as double handles and contrast stitching whilst also insisting on hand stitched finishes. The skills required to perform such a finish are hard to acquire, requiring over 6 years of apprenticeship, and unfortunately increasingly hard to come by. Although this discipline remains niche, we are proud to support it, thus helping to carry on the heritage of British craft.
Our hardware is developed by a jeweller based in Florence. I wanted our lock to be iconic, and, when I looked back to art movements of the 1930s, I liked the idea of a bolt/pistol lock, then experimented with diamond-cutting on the bolt to make it modern.