Gladstone the cat may have made the news recently with his appointment as chief mouse catcher at the Treasury, but although he is named after the 19th-century prime minister and three-times-serving chancellor, he’s not the only one to have been named after Gladstone – thoughts also turn to the famous leather bag.
Gladstone London has taken this moniker and adopted it for a range of leather backpacks, messenger bags and totes. Founded last year by John O’Sullivan, the brand combines traditional leather craftsmanship with contemporary design. This month it goes street style with the limited-edition Gladstone London Graffiti collection of five bags designed with Brighton-based graffiti artists The Glimmer Twins – available from Friday August 12.
Out of the collection, three backpacks have been designed: the Camo, in a camouflage print; Angelitos (fourth picture), with a City of Angels-style skull; and Fuji San (first picture), with Japanese cherry blossom against Mount Fuji (£1,250 each). As for the two totes in the collection, the Taos City tote (second picture) is redolent of a Native American design from the New Mexico town, while the Blue Ocean tote (third picture) features a midnight-blue sea wave (£1,295 each). They are handcrafted in Gladstone London’s Italian factory using soft calf leather, brass zips plated in pewter and grey Alcantara lining. Bespoke bags (up to £2,200) can be created – from a doodle in store or a more developed idea, and the team can help create a unique design as graffiti led as is desired.
The designs may be international, but the inspiration for the collaboration with The Glimmer Twins came from the many disused and graffitied tunnels and old stations around London, which have “become a meeting point for street artists and young talent, an urban kid’s blackboard,” says O’Sullivan. “I could see the clever use of expression.”
Just keep these stunning bags away from the sharp claws that can only tempt Gladstone the cat and his cronies to create graffiti of their own.