‘Modern heritage,’ is how Creative Director Johnny Coca describes his collections for Mulberry, the leading British brand founded in 1971 by Roger Saul in the small village of Chilcompton, in Somerset. ‘It’s about taking archetypal British style and sensibility and making it feel right for today.’
Britishness is at the heart of Mulberry’s identity. The story began around the kitchen table in the Saul family home in Somerset, when Roger’s mother gave him £500 to start his business. Roger had an instinctive flair for knowing what would be fashionable, and his leather accessories soon became popular in London’s Notting Hill and Carnaby Street. He found a great mentor in Bea Miller, editor
of British Vogue (1965–1983) and Mulberry became well-known for its traditional British design labelled ‘Le Style Anglais’, which brought together the stylish elegance of the city with the functional practicality of the countryside.
Mulberry soon developed an international cult following with its timeless leather organisers and hard-wearing Scotchgrain leather suitcases. Mulberry’s bags and briefcases were seen as being perfect for everyday life with robust ‘leather for all weathers’ and guaranteed longevity.
As time went by, talented British designers evolved the brand’s signatures and the creation of much-loved icons, the Alexa and the Bayswater came into being. ‘The Bayswater is such a British icon,’ explains Coca, ‘I want to ensure we protect its legacy and
keep it as relevant as possible for modern women’s lives.’
Today Mulberry is the largest manufacturer of luxury leather goods in Britain, with two factories in Somerset, employing over 600 craftsmen and craftswomen who produce over half of the brand’s bags. In order to nurture talent and hand down the traditions of the craft to future generations, the company founded the Mulberry Manufacturing Apprenticeship Programme in partnership with Bridgwater College in 2006.
Since his appointment in 2015, Johnny Coca has created strong ready-to-wear collections, shaped by leading stylist Lotta Volkova and shown as part of the international Fashion Week schedule. Of the most recent collection, entitled ‘Future Reminiscence’, he says: ‘It’s essential to make things to pass down. We are always creating our own heritage.’
This year, Coca has also introduced a new Mulberry hardware signature – the Rider’s Lock. Inspired by the brand’s emblematic Postman’s Lock, this slender lock is a key feature of the new Amberley bag. Once again referencing British tradition, the Amberley collection
was inspired by equestrian pursuits and Mulberry’s roots in the English countryside, as well as highlighting Mulberry’s renowned leather craftsmanship.
With over 120 stores worldwide selling in 19 countries and a digital flagship delivering to 190 countries, Mulberry is a truly global company with a thoroughly British soul.
MULBERRY 50 NEW BOND STREET, LONDON W1S 1BJ +44 (0)20 7491 3900