History

History

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.

Johnny Coca

Johnny Coca was born in Seville to Spanish parents and later moved to Paris, where he studied Art, Architecture and Design at the École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux Arts, École Nationale Supérieure d'Architecture de Paris-Malaquais and École Boulle in Paris respectively.

Johnny began his career with the LVMH group and continued with a long and successful appointment at Céline. Johnny is attracted by the creativity and cosmopolitan energy of London. He has tutored on a BA course at Central Saint Martins for the past three years.

Johnny has always been fascinated by maths, physics and engineering and simultaneously developed a passion for architecture, design and the visual arts. He speaks four languages including Italian and French.

Johnny joined Mulberry as Creative Director in July 2015.

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Craftsmanship

Mulberry is an English luxury brand inspired by the cool of the city and the craft of the countryside.

Craftsmanship

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.

Icons

Icons

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.

Apprentices

The Next Generation

In 2006 it was realised that over half of Mulberry craft workforce was over 50 years old, with many over the retirement age. These dedicated and well-respected employees had a total understanding of our leather production, but without new talent coming through, Mulberry craftsmanship was in danger of dying out.

To safeguard its craft heritage, Mulberry started an apprenticeship scheme in conjunction with the local Bridgwater College to offer a certificate and training in Leather Goods Manufacturing. The government-approved eighteen-month scheme has seen 70 apprentices complete the programme since 2006, with many still with the company as permanent employees. The scheme has been a resounding success and is considered the benchmark of apprenticeship schemes within the industry.

Mulberry's craftsmen and craftswomen will always be the beating heart of the brand and represent a significant part of the company's business investment.

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