Thursday, April 30, 2009


{*But click the links and I'll try to add some photos later...}

Believe it or not, there are a few things I dislike shopping for. Most electrical goods for one; really anything where function exists without any thought to form. If I have to buy stuff, the criteria is always style and substance. There must be both or I get very grumpy at having to shell out the cash.

I've only ever had crappy luggage: a black nylon holdall from Herve Chapelier that had lasted me oh god, probably 15 years or so. (I actually bought it at the very first Space NK shop in Covent Garden that sold clothes! And had a cafe!) I also had a black Ikea wheelie suitcase which was fine. You can feel my enthusiasm can't you. It's just that all luggage except Globetrotter is so insanely boring and bufugly that I really couldn't be bothered with it, even though I travel quite a bit. And I don't have the muscle bound menservants that travelling with Globetrotter luggage requires. In fact, I do have a Globetrotter suitcase that was my granny's and I love it dearly even though it is completely knackered and smells of mould inside. Globetrotter are going to re-line it for me though because they are amazing like that and then I will store stuff and things in it.

So when I found myself having to throw out every single piece of luggage I owned because of - well you can probably work out why if you're a regular reader and if not, sorry you'll have to scroll a bit because I'm so bored of myself typing those words over and over again; when I found myself needing to buy new luggage I thought I am only going to do this once. I am going to buy something so durable that I won't ever have to traipse around Selfridges luggage department forlornly searching for something that isn't completely mediocre, or have to scour the internet forever and ever and ever.

My starting point was a friend's Tusting holdall, which I had admired, but I don't like to get the same as friends - it feels weird. I reckoned I needed something that would hold my stuff for 5-7 days as I rarely go away for longer, and my big Anna Corinna bag is big enough for an overnight stay. So unfortunately although I of course had a spare £2,200 lying around, the SC 4 LV bag would not suit my requirements on this occasion as it's not big enough.

I wanted canvas with leather trim, not nylon. I started haunting the mens' department at Liberty. Here, there were a few that came close, but not quite. This one from Ally Capellino is nice but not sturdy enough, this Paul Smith one is nice but too small, this Mulberry one is beautiful but too expensive etc etc etc.

I then began to hang around gentlemens' outfitters in Piccadilly but all I found were some Japanese tourists wearing tweed plus fours. Nothing! But that was when I realised: I had been trying to find something traditionally English, whereas of course, the people doing that traditional English heritage thing really well are of course: American.

All along I had been thinking of this holdall featured in Blueprint. When I dug the issue out I saw that it was made by Billykirk - who have no stockists in the UK. Grr. Then A Continuous Lean posted about Filson's collaboration with Urban Outfitters. That was it - my bag. I emailed UO in the UK to find out if they would be carried here, which I knew was unlikely as Filson is a US brand and not much heard of here. After a lot of Googling I found myself on a British fly fishing forum that was discussing Filson; with people saying things like, and I quote:

"Filson clothing is extremely durable and lasts forever, which is crucial for my survival in the wild."

What's that mate, been attacked by a giant salmon have you? I do love that men geek out over practical clothing, but if you had switched out the words *fly fishing* for *mascara wand* from that forum, it would have sounded just like a load of teenage girls discussing Diorshow on Make Up Alley. But thanks to those brave fly fishers I found out about Ptarmigan which is the only stockist of Filson in the UK. They also stock other foreign outdoorsy hunting/fishing brands. I ordered the medium bag in tan and about half an hour later I got a phone call from a lovely man to say it was out of stock but the green one was really very nice. I won't bore you with the details as this is getting long enough, but I was so bowled over to get an actual human phoning me up and discussing a product knowledgeably that I agreed to have it in green to see what I thought. And I love it.

A week later I got an email from Urban Outfitters in response to my query about the Filson collaboration that said: Sometimes things that are on our US website aren't on our UK website. Thanks.

No, no, thank you for your exemplary customer service. Anyway I am totally thrilled with my Filson holdall and I love their slogan:

"Might as well have the best."

I'm going away for the weekend so we'll see how my bag holds up *in the wild.*


erica said...

love the filson! the navy version carried by UO is now on my 'want' list.

we have hideous wheelie bags that i borrowed from my parents years ago. when we went on our honeymoon to ecuador, all we took were two bike bags and a small nylon duffel bag. i wore the same 3 shirts for 8 days.

Anonymous said...

oooo to not discuss the unfortunate incident...since i too have two unfortunate stories (1 a gorgeous, gorgeous rug from morracco was lost to the unmentionable critters and 2 a gucci bag was stolen from my bedroom during a party...) after drying my tears, i gave into the seineld philosophy of "even-steven"....and since i have followed this philosophy...the "even-steven" gods have been very kind with me....i was given as gifts two rugs from algeria...and a friend gave me an old gucci bag... ;))

and re: your post....i found in a second hand store, in mint condition...a leather and canvas overnight bag from g.h. bass & co...for a mere 8$!

so...believe in rainbows..and seinfeld! heheh

Bombay Beauty said...

Great post - and I can relate - because I have had a similar thought, although what I'm looking for is different. I've also had the thought that I just need just two bags, but that became 3, which became 4... But the good news I have 3 and am stalking the impossible 4th:
(1) A computer only bag for NY-Bos trips -- easy since that's really just a bag (definitely not one of those I'm-a-consultant bags which I hate but many good choices).
(2) A 2-day weekender. I actually ended up being gifted one by Paul Smith which I really like.
(3) A 7-day, pack-really-light onboard bag... This I found lying around my sublet flat in London, and my friend from whom I was subletting thought it was useless and gave it to me -- but I love it. Like a svelte pilot's flight case...
(4) My "modern steamer trunk"... It exists only in my mind... I've looked everywhere for it. If you have to check in then, why not have something big, but which holds everything perfectly. Like a steamer trunk I imagine it opens down the middle but then props open. Hangers on the left, drawers and sleeves on the right. Long enough so that most garments don't have to be folded (I really dislike those folding garment bags, but right now there's no choice...)

So there -- I've said it all and that was too much.


Anonymous said...

An phonecall? From an actual human being? Half an hour after you ordered? Well, that's truly amazing, so amazing in fact that I'll check their website and see if I need something from them. I might actually, since we're planning a holiday in Qu├ębec, where we expect to be attacked daily by salmons, mooses and possibly bears.
PS Care to come with us?

Billykirk said...

Thanks for the post. Contact me at We ship our goods all over the world.



l'embrouillamini said...

Good call! And I love the idea of restoring the Globetrotter.

p.s. I'm still mourning the loss of Blueprint