I won’t lie. Over the years I have been a bit of a bag slut. Alongside cheap high street bags, I’ve invested in designer, occasionally *looked* at fakes and have particular regrets over selling my Mulberry and Hindmarch while on maternity leave. I blame the baby.
But I have seen the error of my ways and now look for classic shapes and colours that will work for me, my wardrobe but mainly for my life. I can’t be too precious about them – I have two small children – although I do like nice things.
So I have become obsessed with a new British heritage brand called Village England. All of their bags are uber-desirable, really beautifully made (love the house logo detailing on the rivets) but – and here’s the thing – designed for real life. Yep, it doesn’t matter if they get knocked about or battered, that’s the beauty of them.
Yes OK, they are on the expensive side, but they’re an investment piece that will get better with age.
Founders Eddie Knevett and Julia Dobson spent years working in the world of high fashion (Celine, Bally and House of Fraser FYI) but came together with a united mind-set of wanting to create a collection of bags that scream luxury, but won’t need putting away in a dust bag for protection. Let’s face it, who does that? Julia says she wants the bags to be ‘something you fall in love with but isn’t so precious that it can’t be thrown in the back of the car.’
I road-tested their bold orange Cranleigh bag – a cool 70’s-vibe satchel that’s spacious enough to house a spare nappy and juice carton but neat enough to throw on over a random old outfit and still make it look good. It’s pretty much my perfect bag.
Great for days ferrying the kids, I could also wear it to the office. Commuting by train and then walking means across-the-body styles work brilliantly.
The Newlyn tote in pale grey is the ultimate hobo, minimal in style with two front pockets, loads of room inside and easily worn on the shoulder. I loved it for work, but felt equally smart when wearing with jeans and a jumper at the weekend with the family.
Trust me on this. Village England is a brand that’s set to become a British institution. Buy now, wear forever.
Available online, at House of Fraser and Anthropologie this year.