In The Bag

Words Ian Brown

Let’s face it, the glob­al mood isn’t par­tic­u­lar­ly buoy­ant at present giv­en what feels like per­pet­u­al lock­down mea­sures. With many peo­ple resort­ing to work­ing remote­ly where pos­si­ble, we’re all spend­ing lots of time online and our approach to dress­ing oscil­lates between Zoom calls, Face­Time, home-school­ing and pos­si­bly dash­ing to the super­mar­ket, or ven­tur­ing to the work­place if called for. The real­i­ty of the pan­dem­ic and its eco­nom­ic impli­ca­tions will be with­out a doubt, far-reach­ing. E‑commerce is appar­ent­ly on the rise, and why wouldn’t it be? With so many of us bat­tling to keep our­selves afloat dur­ing this unprece­dent­ed time, it’s no won­der we’re all indulging in some retail ther­a­py. With not much to look for­ward to, a lit­tle treat here and there is hard­ly friv­o­lous. There has nev­er been a bet­ter time to sup­port British fash­ion brands and small­er busi­ness­es. If we’re going to invest our resources, my sug­ges­tion is that we do so con­scious­ly. It’s of vital impor­tance to think about where we are spend­ing our mon­ey and what we’re invest­ing in. The days of fast fash­ion are num­bered. Sus­tain­abil­i­ty is the future and we need to be invest­ing in “for­ev­er pieces” of qual­i­ty and longevi­ty. Trans-sea­son­al pieces that seam­less­ly fuse style and func­tion­al­i­ty whilst evok­ing emo­tion­al con­nec­tion and res­o­nance. 

When it comes to acces­sories, noth­ing beats the “for­ev­er bag”, and British brand Zatchels has options in abun­dance. Hav­ing arrived on the fash­ion land­scape in 2011, Zatchels has become the go-to brand for afford­able lux­u­ry leather acces­sories. They are gar­ner­ing a cult fol­low­ing with devo­tees in des­ti­na­tions as diverse as the UK, the Unit­ed States, Japan and Chi­na, with con­sumers in the lat­ter two ter­ri­to­ries par­tic­u­lar­ly known for their dis­cern­ing approach to hand­bags. To date, celebri­ties such as Game of Thrones actress Maisie Williams, Mil­len­ni­al Sloane Ranger Rosie Fortes­cue and singers Jessie J and Kather­ine Jenk­ins have all been spot­ted clutch­ing their pre­ferred Zatchels. The crafts­man­ship is bonafide. The brand’s leather is sourced from Clyde Leather of Glas­gow, a fam­i­ly tan­nery that has been pro­duc­ing the finest leather and suede for over a cen­tu­ry. All of the Zatchels leather goods are painstak­ing­ly craft­ed at their Leices­ter fac­to­ry using high­ly-skilled leather man­u­fac­tur­ing tech­niques. With a pletho­ra of cov­etable styles and sizes to choose from, in a range of colour­ways that would make even Cray­ola weep with envy, there real­ly is some­thing for every­one. If you’re the kind of gal who likes to per­son­alise her arm can­dy, they offer some whim­si­cal leather heart charms that can be clipped on to bags, wal­lets or keys. Last year, the brand was acquired by Trade­wise Solu­tion Ltd and opened a new UK retail des­ti­na­tion in York city cen­tre. With regards to this acqui­si­tion and the brand’s future plans, a spokesper­son stat­ed the fol­low­ing in the retail pub­li­ca­tion Drap­ers: “The Zatchels brand is known glob­al­ly for its high-qual­i­ty British leather crafts­man­ship and exten­sive range of bag styles, shapes and colours — this is some­thing we are keen to focus on and retain.” 

And my good­ness Zatchel’s don’t dis­ap­point on the colour front. If there was ever a time update your wardrobe with a cheery shot of hope, it’s now. The Spring / Sum­mer 2021 cat­walk pre­sen­ta­tions across the major fash­ion cap­i­tals show­cased sev­er­al trend offer­ings, with kalei­do­scop­ic colour being a unan­i­mous and uplift­ing com­mon thread, as seen at Fen­di, Ver­sace and Chloé. There were sub­dued neu­trals across the board for those in search of some­thing a lit­tle more under­stat­ed and famil­iar, with eter­nal­ly chic shades of black, beige, tan, choco­late and cream ubiq­ui­tous at all the key fash­ion hous­es. Mono­chrome was anoth­er notable trend, with the clas­sic inter­play between black and white quite lit­er­al­ly echo­ing the extremes of the cur­rent glob­al cli­mate. 

Pan­tone, the “colour arbiter” for the fash­ion and inte­ri­ors sec­tors has announced not one but two colours of the year for 2021 (the only oth­er time in their his­to­ry this occurred was in 2016). Bear­ing in mind that Pan­tone have been dic­tat­ing colour trends for 59 years, that’s quite momen­tous. The Pan­tone Colours of the Year for 2021 are: PANTONE 13–0647 Illu­mi­nat­ing (a bright and cheer­ful yel­low) and PANTONE 17–5104 Ulti­mate Gray (sol­id and depend­able). Leatrice Eise­man, Exec­u­tive Direc­tor of the Pan­tone Col­or Insti­tute, had the fol­low­ing to say about this com­pli­men­ta­ry pair­ing: “The union of an endur­ing Ulti­mate Grey with the vibrant yel­low Illu­mi­nat­ing express­es a mes­sage of pos­i­tiv­i­ty sup­port­ed by for­ti­tude. Prac­ti­cal and rock-sol­id but at the same time warm­ing and opti­mistic, this is a colour com­bi­na­tion that gives us resilience and hope. We need to feel encour­aged and uplift­ed; this is essen­tial to the human spir­it”. There were some sec­ondary trend colours Pan­tone cit­ed as glob­al­ly rel­e­vant for Spring, all of which took inspi­ra­tion from Nature, with many of us seek­ing solace and free­dom in the out­doors. They have prof­fered Marigold (yel­low-orange), Cerulean (calm­ing blue), Rust (burnt orange), French Blue (sky blue), Green Ash (pas­tel green) and Burnt Coral (pink-orange). In short, if you think of daf­fodils, storm clouds, the per­fect sky, grassy mead­ows, Autumn leaves and coral reefs, you’ve got the gist of this Sea­son’s colours. 

We’ve hand-picked sev­en key pieces from Zatchels’ col­lec­tions that will bold­ly take you into Spring 2021 and beyond:

Bor­neo Leather Twist Lock Clutch Bag
Ging­ham Hand­made Leather Sad­dle Bag
Grass Green Luna Hand­made Leather Bag
Lilac Grey Hand­made Leather Cross Body Bag
Orange Leather Edge Shoul­der Bag
Pas­tel Daf­fodil Yel­low Leather Tote Bag
Pas­tel Kalei­do­scope Jack Rab­bit Hand­made Leather Bag