Mulberry creates beautiful leather products from the most carefully chosen and exquisite natural leathers. Each individual bag is the result of highly skilled craftsmanship married with creativity, imagination and innovation. From its home to its most iconic signature pieces, Mulberry is an English luxury brand. It is individual, charming, practical and idiosyncratic.
Roger Saul established the business in Somerset in 1971 using £500 he received on his birthday. He named the brand after the Mulberry tree that he walked past each day in the grounds of his school. The first collection consisted of plaited belts and chokers, desirable leather accessories regarded as the handbags of their time.
Early collections found commercial success in the legendary Biba boutique in London. But it was with the 1975 ‘Hunting, Shooting, Fishing’ collection that the world’s love affair with Mulberry began. This became known as ‘Le Style Anglais’ and offered something different; an English style that owed nothing to an idea of staid, hard-edged or unyielding Britishness. This was fashion with a softer touch: relaxed confidence loaded with English references, understated, and as such, totally modern.
Mulberry has grown into a respected and successful global brand with an international presence. It remains true to its founding principles: the flagship factory base in Somerset, the dedication to quality that can be seen in every Mulberry item, the combination of beauty and practicality, and the unwavering passion for leather craft.
Mulberry is an English luxury brand inspired by the cool of the city and the craft of the countryside.
Mulberry’s heritage is steeped in English leather craftsmanship. During the 1970s and 1980s the company operated from a small production site nestled among the rolling fields of Somerset, before opening flagship factory The Rookery in the small nearby town of Chilcompton.
The Rookery quickly became Mulberry’s main manufacturing base - representing a rare example of a British luxury brand investing in British production. Today Mulberry is the largest manufacturer of luxury leather goods in the UK. From the beginning, craftsmen and women came from the surrounding areas to work at Mulberry, each of them an expert in their field.
The opening of second factory The Willows is a new chapter in Mulberry’s manufacturing success story and reflects a £7.5million investment in British manufacturing. The government’s Regional Growth Fund also granted £2.5million towards recruitment and training costs. In Mulberry tradition, staff for the new factory have been recruited from the surrounding areas, in order to support the local economy and community. Today, Mulberry has nearly 700 craftsmen and craftswomen working in Somerset.
The Mulberry signature is the use of beautiful leather. Naturally supple, these leathers age gracefully over time, developing a personality that makes each Mulberry bag unique to its owner. The designers take these stunning leathers and marry them with iconic details: the postman’s lock being perhaps the best known, inspired by the catch on a postman’s satchel.
Braided leather, fobs and belt buckles have been staples of our collections since the 1970s, all marks of understated luxury and a relaxed confidence. From its earliest days Mulberry has represented a very English sensibility, and a need to balance practical, wearable designs that are intrinsically and intentionally beautiful.
Mulberry bags are known by their shape, their iconic signatures and their name: Roxanne, Bayswater, Alexa, Lily, Brynmore and Willow - each resonates with a sense of character and style that is wonderfully English.
For clothing and outerwear classic British style silhouettes like the trench, duffle and pea coat are the inspiration. Layering, an acknowledgement of the changeable weather in town and country, is also a consistent feature. Mulberry accessories and ready to wear pieces have a careful balance of beauty and practicality that means fashionable things naturally become favourite things.
A renowned training and apprenticeship programme is in place to ensure the next generation of craftsmen and women are in a position to continue the Mulberry craft legacy.
The apprenticeship programme has been running since 2006 at the flagship factory in Somerset. The intention: to develop the skills of young employees in a way that will allow them to become accomplished craftsmen and craftswomen within the Mulberry family.
The eighteen month training course, comprising a leather skills NVQ and technical certificate, is run in conjunction with local Bridgwater College. Apprentices learn the skills and knowledge needed for different roles in the company, for example product development, planning and market support, under the guidance of a Mulberry mentor. As a result of the success of the programme, there is a waiting list of young people aspiring to join the production line team.
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