With Craft Week upon us, it seems apt to shine the spotlight on a British brand that has craft at its core. Since its inception in the early Seventies, Mulberry has championed the frequently forgotten art of handmade leather goods and the same remains true today.
While the brand employs cutting-edge technology to assist its manufacturing process, over 30 pairs of hands still touch each bag on any one production line (of which there are often more than six running, producing in total around 250 replica bags a day). From the unseen structural panels and framework to the handles, gusset, fastenings and all-important foiled Mulberry replica stamp, every element of every item that the fashion house produces from its factories in Bath and Somerset is immaculately made by a group of the country’s most skilled artisans before being assembled into the polished final product – as we discovered on a visit to its Rookery site outside Bath last week.
With the arrival on current creative director Johnny Coca in 2017, the Mulberry outlet factory – which already boasts a comprehensive apprenticeship scheme – has had to collectively learn a host of new skills and methods. Coca is a huge advocate of the 3-D approach to making replica bags, as opposed to the inside-out technique, and with more margin for error the standard of skill in the factories has increased exponentially since his arrival – an important reminder of how a creative director’s vision extends to every corner of a brand. In the Rookery factory, we witnessed employees of all ages learning new skills in the on-site training area, to expand their knowledge and skillset and lead to a more comprehensive and efficient work force.
According to Coca, the set-up at cheap Mulberry is what sealed the deal when it came to completion of his contract nearly two years ago – here, he explains just what makes Mulberry number one when it comes to craft.