Muscat Daily - - FEATURES -

Dun­hill, the men’s lux­ury brand founded in 1887, op­er­ates a fac­tory in the city where its wal­lets and bags are still made by hand.

Bour­don House, a gen­tle­man’s hide­away just north of Berke­ley Square in Lon­don, is of­ten de­scribed as the spir­i­tual home of the Bri­tish leather goods com­pany, Al­fred Dun­hill Ltd.

But you can make a case for the brand’s Waltham­stow work­shop at 32 St An­drews St, a 30 minute drive north, where cus­tom-built brief­cases, hand­bags, and wal­lets have been as­sem- bled since 1936. Al­fred Dun­hill be­gan his ca­reer in 1887 as an ap­pren­tice in his fam­ily’s Lon­don busi­ness, then be­came ob­sessed with car rac­ing and started mak­ing high-qual­ity ac­ces­sories for the age of the au­to­mo­bile.

Not much has changed, although now it’s US$1,090 Cado­gan brief­cases, US$1,650 Boston back­packs, and US$5,400 Duke holdalls. It takes, on av­er­age, 30 hours to com­plete one piece.

To­day, the lux­ury goods maker is a sub­sidiary of Cie Fi­nanciere Richemont SA, which also owns Cartier, Mont­blanc, Pi­aget, and Van Cleef & Ar­pels. In Jan­uary, Dun­hill in­tro­duced for­mer Burberry Group ex­ec­u­tive An­drew Maag as its new chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer.

His fel­low ex-Burberry alum Mark We­ston is the new cre­ative di­rec­tor and pre­viewed the fall 2017 col­lec­tion in June. “One hun­dred per cent of ev­ery­thing is new,” Maag said of the col­lec­tion. But you can still get hand­made clas­sics also at the Waltham­stow work­shop - in­clud­ing the com­pany’s beloved Wolse­ley brief­case, made in the shape of a clas­sic doc­tor’s bag.

A worker stitches leather sec­tions to a Kemp­ton can­vas tote bag, an item that’s cur­rently sold out

An em­ployee hand stitches the top sec­tion of a Wolse­ley doc­tor's bag


Sec­tions of leather of­f­cuts sit on a stor­age cab­i­net

An em­ployee uses a scan­ning ma­chine to mea­sure a sec­tion of hide

Travel tags rest on a bench in the work­shop.

A close-up of the hand-stitch­ing process

Rolls of goat hide are racked in the store­room

A se­lec­tion of tools used in man­u­fac­tur­ing leather bags

A fin­ished Wolse­ley bag

An em­ployee uses a sewing ma­chine to bind two sec­tions of leather

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