Guest post by Catherine Ellis
We always wanted Made in Britain to be stamped on our leather bike bags. Yeah, the Italians know a bit about cycling, and leather for that matter, but us Brits are hard at their heels both in terms of innovative bike products and cycling itself. (We don’t want to go on about Bradley Wiggins but…). Therefore getting a bike bag collection designed and made in Britain was high up our to do list.
Hill & Ellis started life in 2013 when we launched our first collection of bike bags, made in veg-tan leather and finished with our signature-striped cotton lining, manufactured in India. The producers make leather bags for the likes of Whistles and Next so we knew we were in safe hands. They did however think that we were totally bonkers as cycling isn’t considered particularly aspiring in India, and if you’ve travelled on their streets you’d know why. But the collection made a bit of a splash, hitting press pages like Times Style and being bought by broadcasting Don, Jon Snow amongst others.
There is certainly a different style to British manufacturing and to urban UK cycling and we wanted to tap into that. We worked on designs with cleaner lines & bolder styles and sourced leathers that were colourful, water-repellent, and lovely to touch. We also changed our hook system, working with the industries best hook manufacturer to use a spring loaded, patented pannier clip that could easily attach and adjust to all bike racks with an added security lock so it can’t be unwittingly taken off the bike.
Cycling is undoubtedly great for the environment, and we felt producing a British made bike bag meant sourcing the materials nearby to reduce its impact on this beautiful world of ours. The bags are produced in London (close enough for us to cycle to!), the leather is sourced from Holland (we tried Scottish tanneries but didn’t find the style we needed) the waterproof covers are made in Devon and the hooks are from Germany. This is still a work in progress so if we can find it closer we will use it.
We are very proud of the results, and this bike bag collection has made a bigger press splash than our last, being featured in the Observer, Vogue, Esquire, Time Out, the Evening Standard, Shortlist, Urban Cyclist and many others. It is also now stocked in the Bike Pop up in Selfridges and comes complete with a Made in Britain tag!
We would love to know what you think, so do have a look at the collection on our website and get in touch. We are now working on our next British Made collection – designed in canvas and waterproofed cotton for a more casual style, which should be on the shelves in the next few months. To keep up to date with all our news sign up at http://www.hillandellis.com/get-in-touch
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As seen on The Guardian, BBC and The Independent.