Here at MyBag, we’re advocates for great British style. From classic heritage brands to new, quirky and eccentric, we love the variety that these small isles bring and the strong sense of individual style that seeps out from every corner. British brands encapsulate this completely; all unique, they take their own styles and run with it, not afraid to experiment with new designs or delve into the archives and revitalise old ones.
Aspinal of London
Aspinal of London is the quintessential English luxury lifestyle brand. Headed by Creative Director Mariya Dykalo, each piece is designed in The National Park of West Sussex Downs and is handmade by genuine leather craftsmen and women. Founded in 1999, it creates classic yet contemporary bags and accessories for men and women that will last a lifetime. Despite still being a relatively young brand, Aspinal of London is deep rooted in British culture. It has supplied the Royal Household with leather goods, and the Kate Middleton ‘Princess Catherine Engagement Doll’ came with a toy Aspinal bag as an accessory. You don’t get much more British than that.
Barbour started off in 1894 in South Shields, North East England, by John Barbour. Today, it remains in the area and is still a family-owned company. Starting as a small mail-order retailer of oilskins for lighthouse keepers, it has become a heritage brand famous for its classic wax jackets – worn everywhere from country estates to Glastonbury and the city. In the past it has collaborated with other top British designers such as Anya Hindmarch, Paul Smith and Alice Temperley. Barbour’s accessories are functional yet glamorous, with designs that combine traditional country with modern urban styles.
The Cambridge Satchel Company
Founded in 2008, The Cambridge Satchel Company had humble beginnings, when creator Julie Deane OBE started it from her kitchen table in Cambridge with just £600. Creating classic leather satchels in an array of modern colours, the brand soon took off, being loved the world over for its traditional British designs. The Cambridge Satchel Company soon gained cult status among fashion bloggers, and the brand has also collaborated with progressive Japanese brand Comme des Garçons, taking the classic British style and sending it into high-fashion territory. As well as satchels, the company now produces backpacks, accessories, clutch bags and shoulder bags, made from 100% leather and handmade in Britain.
French Connection is a fashion-forward London-based brand. Founded in 1972 by Stephen Marks, its designs are classic with a quirky spin, and it now sells everything from clothing and accessories to homewares and toiletries. Gaining fame for its controversial ‘fcuk’ branding, this led to French Connection becoming one of the biggest names on the British high street, and one that is recognised across the globe.
Founded in 2005, Grafea is the go-to brand for vintage-inspired leather backpacks. The story of Grafea begins when its founder Hari was an aspiring musician in Manchester. Her love for vintage got her buying and selling rare vintage items, which then led to creating new bags that are inspired by vintage styles. Constantly updated in new colours, the Grafea backpack soon became the It Bag for fashion bloggers, gaining the brand cult status. Handmade in England, Grafea bags mix new and vintage, all while putting its own stamp on the designs; a true British brand.
Based in Knutsford, Cheshire, Knutsford was established as a way of celebrating British design and craftsmanship. Inspired by British military history, Knutsford creates pieces that are functional, stylish, and classically British – and made entirely in England. All garments are crafted using the finest materials, resulting in luxury clothes, bags and accessories that will last a lifetime.
Lulu Guinness lives by the motto of Surrealist artisan and fashion designer Elsa Schiaparelli, ‘Dare to be different’. Her quirky and eccentric designs are just that: different. Feminine and innovative, Lulu Guinness is famous for its lips clutch, bringing the Surrealist art movement into contemporary fashion. Founded in 1989, Guinness had no formal design training – a true example that passion and ambition can create something spectacular.
Paul’s Boutique captures the eclectic spirit of British style, taking inspiration from vintage clothing, graffiti, 80s hip hop and Japanese street fashion. The brand was established by Paul Slade, who started customising original army surplus, denim and sweatshirts, selling his wares at London’s Portobello Market in 2000. Paul’s Boutique soon exploded, gaining a cult following for its unique designs, and is now sold all over the world.
Ted Baker is a true British brand. It all began in 1989 when Londoner Ray Kelvin opened a menswear store in Glasgow, and it soon expanded into what it is today: a global brand that sells everything from menswear and womenswear, to bags, accessories and toiletries. In all of this global expansion, Ted Baker has remained true to its original values, focusing on quality and attention to detail, and doing it all with a quirky sense of humour. Bold prints, strong fabrics and vivid colours make up the Ted Baker range, with styles that range from comfortable and casual to polished and refined.