Gillian Tusting married into the Tusting family over two decades ago and is a driving force behind the brand. She has worked alongside her husband and company CEO Alistair Tusting throughout this time, meaning that she really does take her work home with her. Whilst Alistair has a meticulous knowledge of the technicalities and minutiae of our leathers and construction, Gillian ensures that each bag is fit for purpose and visually uplifting.
What is your role at Tusting?
I’m the Head of Brand, which means I try to be the gatekeeper for the language, message and experience we put out to the world.
Tell us about the new Twyford Tote.
I’ve been using my Twyford for a good while now – it really suits my lifestyle and it is bringing me a lot of pleasure along the way – more than I imagined it would. It seems to be able to swallow the most astonishing amount of stuff, including my laptop and folders, as well as all the normal bits, and on top of that I can still fit in the spoils of a trip to the shop on the way home. It’s easy to find things in, it keeps its shape and looks dressy enough too. I’m really pleased with it, which is a good thing as I was very bossy about getting it into production in the first place! Like many of our bags, Twyford is named after the one of the villages local to Tusting’s HQ.
A lot of tote bags tend to be more like simple buckets, but the Twyford has pockets and fixings worked into it, allowing for a little order amongst the “chuck it all in vibe” which I love. I feel a little more organised and know that I can find essentials straight away. I also like the flap that we added to the bag, inspired by our pretty Holly bag, it adds security for the contents and cinches the bag back into shape in an instant.
We have introduced new colours into our women’s collection this season. Which is your favourite?
I think it’s actually the Sage – I wasn’t so drawn to it to begin with, but it’s grown on me a lot and it looks stunning alongside the Tan and the Red. I’m using the Twyford in Tan but I think it is really striking in the Sage without being at all shouty, and I can see it working well into anyone’s wardrobe. It’s proving really popular already, so I think it’s going to be the one to get in early with.
What was the thinking behind this Autumn’s colour range?
Our customers are really clear about their favourite colours and we draw on that – so we went with some great classics but worked with contrast stitching for character and then added in two glorious new Autumnal shades in the soft Sage green and zingy Persimmon orange.
How many Tusting bags do you own?
Errr, rather a lot… but I do think it is important to use every style and really put them through their paces. I like to ensure that they really are useful and practical companions, as well as good looking ones. My first bag pre-dates my Tusting name because I got it before Alistair and I were even an item. It shows just how enduring the top-handled style is – I love it and still use it quite often.
Which is your failsafe bag of choice?
A now very characterful and well-loved plain dark brown tote. It was a sample from a collaboration we did with Japan Air Lines about 15 years ago. It still has the little propeller badge on it that we sourced especially for the project, which I love, but more to the point, it never seems to mind any of the abuse I subject it to. I just repay its faithfulness with a good polish from time to time.
Have you appropriated many men’s bags over the years, or stolen many of Alistair’s?
No, I’m on the petite side, so I’m not so good with man-sized bags, although I seem to always need the biggest luggage when it comes to travelling, I love our oldest large Explorer best, it can always accommodate my indecision-packing and adds very little weight, which is good since I seem to like packing my own weight in clothing options!
What’s your favourite bag?
I can be a bit fickle, and I am incredibly fortunate to have so much choice, but it has to be the Holly – they are just so curvaceously pretty and downright cute. Their size makes them handy too, they fit more than you might think, so there really is no reason not to love them!
What do you keep in your bag?
On a good day, my phone, keys and a bank card. On most days, half of the house too. I hate to be without and I really need to work on my decluttering.
Must have accessories?
My phone. It does it all, and it has to be one with loads of storage because I can’t declutter that either!
Define your style
Classic and sporty. I am always on the move, so my pretty stuff has to be practical too.
What do you wish you were daring enough to wear?
Anything inappropriate to the occasion – I’m probably far too concerned with doing my best and I should just rebel a little from time to time!
Skeletons in your wardrobe?
Well, that would be telling…. they can just stay in the wardrobe!
Discover our new Autumn handbag collection