Tusting Talks All Things Bespoke Luggage with Gentleman’s Journal
Jonathan Wells of The Gentleman’s Journal recently wrote a great piece on the enthusiasm that continues to build for special order or bespoke luggage and spoke to Tusting to get some insight for his piece. Here’s the full interview.
Have you seen a rise, as we leave lockdown, in demand for bespoke luggage — and why do you think this is? Are people ‘falling back in love’ with travel and all its accoutrements, as it were?
During lockdown, we’ve actually seen a big rise in demand for bespoke bags but day-bags rather than luggage, no doubt due to the lack of travel opportunities. They make very special gifts and lockdown has encouraged creative gifting in lieu of visiting I think. Now that travel is once more in view, we expect to see increased orders for bespoke luggage coming through again – there will be special trips being planned that warrant special luggage!
Tusting offers a bespoke service to cater for customers. What sort of things do you offer — is it more a bespoke service for those after individuality in their luggage, or those who need specialist kit for practical concerns?
We do indeed. It is definitely more of the former type, since we stick, in the main, to our existing basic patterns, but offer a myriad of choices of leather type and colour (or fabric), stitch colour and linings. Whilst we are best placed to advise on the best leathers for each customer’s needs, it’s a collaborative process and we’ve made a number of bags with linings provided by the clients themselves, anything from clan tartans to ornate silk jacquards. Some functional alterations to our patterns are sometimes possible, but it’s not the main thread of our bespoke offer.
What is the most popular type of bespoke luggage created/the more popular way luggage is custom-built/customised? Do any particular projects you can speak about stand out?
As we have a wide variety of luggage styles, it’s often just a case of creating a bespoke set in a special leather. Sometimes this will be for a particular purpose, such as fitting in the boot of a certain car. Motoring enthusiasts love that they can order a set of luggage to accessorise a beloved, special or vintage car, and customisations often reference the car itself, such in the choice of colour and also other details – like having the chassis number embossed on each bag. Other than luggage, we find that custom colour-ways for handbags are very popular.
I’m particularly interested in the archival customisation. How does this work? Is it like when a customer goes into a Savile Row tailor and gets a reproduction of his grandfather’s suit made from the original pattern?
It would be similar, yes. We have the patterns for every style we have ever made, so we can recreate them even if they are a style we no longer sell. We did this recently for India Hicks – she wanted a recreation of her partner David Flint Wood’s very old and tired Tusting Clipper bag. It needed to be a faithful reproduction, but with some personalisation and also some customisation in the shape of a special leather-free handle since David is actually allergic to leather. All of this was possible and made for a very special gift.
The monogramming and personalisation is perhaps the most attainable/easiest way for a customer to personalise their luggage — and one Tusting says is popular. Why is such a simple way of making your luggage unique so special?
The more personal a gift, the more thoughtful it obviously is, and therefore more cherished. It’s inexpensive to emboss a piece with someone’s initials and yet that simple, classic addition makes a piece entirely personal. Our unique message-embossing service is something we developed on order to offer an extra level to the personalisation. It is a more involved process and has to be built into the bag during construction and so has a longer lead-time, but provides an extra-special addition. Both will remind the recipient of the sentiment in the gift each time they use the item and so gives that sentiment longevity – it is a thoughtful and touching way to commemorate special moments and events.