x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 January 2018

The Style List: Cambridge Satchel Company classic

How an old British school staple has become a must-have accessory.

A men's bag from the Cambridge Satchel Company. Courtesy Harvey Nichols
A men's bag from the Cambridge Satchel Company. Courtesy Harvey Nichols

Its revival started slowly, with a business idea conceived in a British kitchen five years ago. Since then, the Cambridge Satchel Company has taken this once rather uncool school bag, given it a makeover and made it into a cult style staple seen on the shoulders of the famous and fashionable, and even as a prop in Mad Men.

Now on sale in the UAE and available in almost every colour, its simple, iconic design and sturdy, high-grade leather means it's not only an accessory with unisex retro-cool appeal but also a smart leather goods investment.

A surge in demand has now prompted a 75-piece collection specifically for men. Debuted at the Pitti Immagine Uomo menswear show in Florence last month, it introduces a selection of colours, including pale grey, dark bottle green and cobalt blue.

The bags' sales appeal has undoubtedly been bolstered by the label's rather charming background story. It was set up with just £600 (Dh3,555) by Julie Deane, a housewife. Despite no experience in either business or fashion, Deane was desperate to raise money for her daughter's school fees. Undaunted, she drew up a business plan, sourced a local manufacturer, built a website and sold her concept to every fashion writer and blogger she could find. Her subsequent success is the stuff of the entrepreneurial fairy tale. The company now employs 47 people with a projected turnover of more than £10m and its bags are sold in 100 countries. Proof that homework really can pay off.

Dh725, Harvey Nichols, Mall of the Emirates.

To view the collection in full, visit www.cambridgesatchel.co.uk

hmclaughlin@thenational.ae