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It’s so exciting for me to poke around a busy factory of such an established brand as Tusting; marvelling at all the different machines and jobs to complete one bag, making mental notes of the machine parts that I should be ordering for my studio; it all reassures me that I’m heading in the right direction for my own brand and excitingly, that I’ll have a factory of my own to poke around in one day. Don’t you love that each workspace had it’s own cheesy calendar? Anyway, getting a little off the point, Tusting is the second largest manufacturer in the UK, based in the small town of Bedfordshire, the workers even walk to work from the nearby village! They started their company by importing leather from india in the 1870’s and selling shoe soles to companies like Church’s -which they still do today; now they have been manufacturing bags for over 130 years, giving them a timeless quality and heritage

They’re even involved with the young British design scene, helping Richard Nicoll design his bags for AW12, with Vodafone. I went to the breakfast launch just under a year ago to hear them talking about ‘an exciting new accessory’ to be debuted on the runway, so it was fun to see it come around full swing. The bags on the runway were all white and have a battery pack in the botton that can charge various devices, a pretty nifty idea in theory. 

After we’d seen the factory, we went for lunch in the village pub where Tusting brought along some bags and leathers and we got to choose our own! I’m excited to show you the finished result when it arrives. We also got to discuss manufacturing in the UK and debate why it’s obviously so important for brands to start bringing their factories back. Ella told me that Burberry were planning on returning their factories to England, which would be amazing! Tusting’s largest export is Japan, where they go crazy for traditional Western products therefore they must be made in England; I would think this must fall on Burberry as well; when you sell your brand as heritage I think you subconsciously expect these products to be made in the original country, it’s time we all realised how much this isn’t happening and start bringing our brands back home.

Thank you Tusting for having us and to Louisa and Push PR for organising the trip!

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  1. i can’t wait till’ i become a fashion designer and be able to experience all this first hand!


  2. such a fun trip. whenever i read susiebubble and your blog, i put down everything and focus.. hehe

    1. Ha! I know what you mean, there’s nothing like seeing the hard work of others to make you run home and get busyyy!

    2. Agreed

  3. Very nice look

  4. Wow, Charlie! This is amazing. The photos are so beautiful. I love the shot with the poster of the muscle man on the wall! I really love seeing the environment people work in.

    This is so beautifully written Charlie. It’s incredible that you were able to get such a unique insight from the brand. This isn’t the sort of thing people talk about very often, you just assume things are made abroad and that’s the way it’s going to stay. It doesn’t have to be that way though. Totally agree how important this is for brands that align themselves with British heritage… xx

    1. Thanks Jen! I was pretty shocked, after watching the Bottom Line program and feeling good that Barbour’s factory was here in the UK, to only find out that it was quite a big lie.

      Seeing the relaxed happy workers in the Tusting factory was also a stark contrast to the Barbour factory seen on TV; huge quotas to fill, promise of a bonus if you can fulfill more than your quota, running back and forth frantically trying to get it done.

      You can’t always believe what you see on TV, it’s easy to forget that a lot of the time, just as it’s easy to forget the importance of British made goods.

      I hope that many brands bring their factories back, but it will be a long process.

      PS – So getting you a muscle man poster for your next birthdayyy

    2. OMG I didn’t hear about that Barbour program, I want to watch it now!

  5. I agree on bringing factories back in the UK topic, I kinda feel really patriotic after seeing Tusting’s mass press coverage in Japan.

  6. nice bag .and teh process is a great work .the picture is so ………….

  7. oh wow!! excellent post! there’s something about all those leather that simply inspires me! someday, i hope to have bags in every colored and textured leather…. sighhh lol

    P.S. I know it’s been a while but I finally uploaded a new outfit post, tell me what u think ;)

    xx nathan.niche


    1. I look forward to seeing your bags Nathan!!

  8. the photos are really nice, give a real insight


  9. Oh wow, zips and thread and leather everywhere!! It’s like heaven!
    Thanks for sharing these, must’ve been amazing.

    x Stace

    PS. I’ve got a giveaway happening to win a House of Harlow ring! I’d love for you to enter!

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