Hello and welcome to the extended Tusting family – we’re thrilled that you have joined the growing group of people who own a Tusting product, and especially one from our joyful collaboration with India Hicks.
My family has been in the leather business since 1875, beginning as leather tanners when my great-great-grandfather set up his tannery to supply the growing Northampton shoemaking trade. Since then, we’ve accumulated five generations of knowledge and expertise, and over the years, making leather itself has given way to handcrafting fine leather goods. We are able to lovingly reinvest all those years of experience in every piece that is carefully created by our highly skilled team and we are delighted to share that with you in the shape of your new bag.
The Story of the Collaboration
It all began with a hopeful email late in 2020, when India contacted us looking to recreate her then fiancé’s much-treasured (but rather tired) old Tusting bag as a wedding present. After many pandemic-related delays, the couple finally tied the knot in September 2021, but the bag was presented in time for the first-planned wedding date, with great success. (Read more on the story of the new Clipper here.)
One chat led to another, and soon we were planning to collaborate and develop more bags inspired by this old favourite and beyond. The process very much found the synergies between India’s natural design eye and our own heritage and skills and resulted in three beautiful, yet ultra-functional styles crafted from some of our favourite, high-quality materials. All the bags from the first and subsequent collections have combined our core, Tusting values paired with globe-trotting, super-stylish practicality and unique design touches. Ultimately, they celebrate British design and craftsmanship.
Rest assured that you have bought a strong bag that will joyfully stand up to some long and faithful service. The amount of care you give your bag is really up to you, according to just how lived in you like your bag to look. Life, in general, will contribute to the ageing of both the leather and fabric, forming a rich patina on the leather (especially the handles) and softening the fabric a little, all of which makes your item uniquely yours.
When not in use it is best to store our bags in the cotton outer bag provided – this helps to keep dust and dirt off the leather and fabric and protects it from directional light damage which may cause uneven discolouration. When in use, as in all aspects of life, ‘stuff happens’ and your bag may get soiled or marked in the normal way of things. If you do find you need to give your bag some love and attention, each of the three key material components will benefit from a little knowledge on how to best care for it.
The beautiful Cotton Drill which provides the main fabric for the bags is double-bonded for stand and strength and this also provides good water resistance as water is repelled by the bonding layer. Expertly made in Northern Ireland, whilst it may be pale as the Irish mist, this fabric is protected with a dirt- and water-repellant coating – it brushes clean well and is fully wipeable with a damp sponge to get any marks off that resist a good brushing. If dirt remains after a wipe, spot cleaning is fine – our favourite way to take grime and stains on our fabric bags is to spot-clean with carpet foam which achieves a good result with minimum wetting.
The denim that forms the central theme of the second collection of bags was carefully chosen from the world-leading mill, Cone Denim, in the USA. Masters in modernising and improving the ages-old craft of milling denim, sustainability and traceability are at the very heart of their work. Their ‘Freshman’ denim, which we chose for this collection, is a blend of sustainably grown, processed and produced hemp, with fully traceable regular cotton, organic cotton, and post-consumer recycled cotton. It is dyed with their Distilled Indigo liquid dye process, which reduces chemical, water and energy consumption, and finished with their ground-breaking ozone-based system which improves colour fastness whilst making 83% saving in water consumption.
Please note that even though this denim is made to reduce colour rub as much as possible, it is still denim and some colour may still shed if in contact with very light colours. If the denim on your bag gets soiled, first try brushing with a clothes brush to see if that will loosen or shift the mark. Then wipe with a damp sponge or cloth gently – too much rubbing could loosen the colour. If a mark is stubborn, then dry carpet cleaning foam or a dry-cleaning dabber should fix the problem. So test any cleaning products on an inconspicuous area first and if in doubt, ask us for a swatch of the denim to try things out on before starting on your bag.
The traditional English look is exemplified by strong canvas combined with leather. The canvas used is robust 18oz cotton fabric that’s custom woven and dyed for TUSTING on the east coast of Scotland. The fabric is then laminated to a waterproof backing and coated with a water and dirt-repellant surface treatment, making this a distinctive and extremely hardwearing body material. The fabric is highly durable and will generally not even mark as it is protected, but if a stubborn mark does occur, the same brush, wipe, dry-clean interventions described above for the denim should solve most problems.
The leather on all Tusting bags has received the highest (gold) rating from the Leather Working Group which has set stringent guidelines for environmentally safe leather production, and to which we insist all our partner tanneries adhere. Strong, soft and extremely durable, our leathers provide the perfect partner to these outstanding fabrics.
Leather will require very little care, but if it gets soiled, simply wipe clean with a damp sponge, always trying not to wet it too much, or any overlap onto the fabric with your sponge. Should it ever begin to feel a little dry, it will appreciate some of our Hide Cream carefully applied (avoiding the fabric) to rehydrate it.
The Flame-Red lining fabrics in the first two collections were made in Scotland by one of our favourite fabric suppliers. It carries a completely dry, waxed and air-tumbled finish for a water-repellent soft-touch feel. In a garment, this fabric is completely washable, and therefore in this setting will be very happy to be wiped clean. Should you find yourself carrying anything damp in your bag, be sure to let it dry well in good ventilation afterwards.
The bespoke, custom-printed fabric, inspired by India’s father’s bedroom decor is not coated but is 100% cotton and therefore still easy-care, wiping and spot-cleaning are fine. It is not in itself waterproof (although the canvas behind it is) so if anything damp is carried in the bag, be sure to let it air-dry thoroughly to avoid damage.
With these bags, our promise to our customers is exactly the same as with all of our creations – that we’ll be here to help care for your bag for as long as you need us to be. You’ll enjoy our dedicated, personal customer service whenever you need it.
We are confident that our bags are made to the highest standard, but if a fault occurs as a result of a defect in manufacture, we will repair (or replace) it free of charge. More likely, the general wear and tear of life may mean that your bag might need some restoration at some point. We will always be happy to undertake repairs where possible and will quote according to the work required – if your bag needs a little help, please just Get In Touch.