Gladstn London Case in Point
When world traveler Richard Sharman became frustrated with the multiple bags necessary to properly transport his personal items, he decided to create his own perfect bag. While spending time in global airport lounges, he began to conceptualize the ideal carryall. “In my own experience travelling the world on business, I could never get a cabin trolley that worked for me or a briefcase that was quite right,” said Sharman. He began to imagine a bag(s) that would complement his style choices. “I wanted something beautiful, that would be admired for its understated elegance and colour, whilst being functional and stylish, not just for business trips or holidays but to be shared for all journeys.”
Gladstn London Founder Richard Sharman. Photo by Matt Madden Photography.
The result? Gladstn London. Sharman, a former business executive, left his previous vocation to devote himself to the creative process of developing a collection of luxe leather bags perfect for varied needs. In creating his bags, he carefully studied people’s journeys, what they need and choose to carry. Production began in 2015 with a focus on business, travel, and everyday products for a predominantly male audience seeking understated, quality, contemporary luxury leather bags that enhanced personal style. But the brand’s early androgynous and gender-neutral designs also attracted a female following. These days, in addition to its original core products, the brand produces bags in smaller and lighter sizes with its female fan base in mind.
Gladstn London collections feature an edited selection of silhouettes; each is effortlessly chic, and each serves a well-defined purpose. Within the Everyday Friends Collection, consumers will find a bag for every journey. The Hands Free Backpack (in two sizes) features a multitude of pockets (with the highest quality zippers), and padded room for a laptop. It’s easily slid under an airplane seat. Pair it with the small Freedom of the City handbag for the perfect travel duo. This Venetian calf-skin bag is ideal when sunglasses, phone, and credit card are your only necessities. It comes with its own adjustable leather cross-body strap and detachable wrist strap. Make it a travel troika with the lightweight, four-wheeled Mad Dash trolley case which easily fits into an overhead bin.
Gladstn London Hands Free Backpack
Gladstn London Carte Blanche
For beach going activity, the Hampton Bag is an everyday tote. Business outings call for the Case in Point soft construction briefcase. The Renegade is a generous city bag with woven shoulder strap, padlock and key, and the Carte Blanche with its distinctive pyramidal shape and snap lock clasp can go anywhere. And for a quick overnight getaway, the generously sized Late Nights and Lie Ins holds all of the essentials.
Additionally, Gladstn London features limited edition items, and their bespoke department allows for client collaboration in creating unique, personalized items. “Being able to make anything for our customers and uncover new materials helps them bring to life their dream bag,” said Sharman. “It’s something we treasure and is a refreshing option in a luxury industry where so much volume is produced.
Gladstn London Late Nights and Lie Ins
Gladstn London Limited Edition Bag
“Being hands-on, creatively, and commercially is something I love,” said Sharman, who named his company in homage to the iconic British Gladstone Bag, the catalyst for a boom in ‘London Made’ leather craftsmanship, named after four time UK Prime Minister William Gladstone (1809–1898). “I find it a privilege to work with craftsmen and women whose mission is to preserve the past and protect the future. It’s so rewarding when I see our bags being shared on their journeys, complementing our customer’s style choices and becoming their friends, just as my bags are to me.”
Gladstn London bags are the epitome of understated luxury, each made to stand the test of time. Designed in London and produced in Italy, each is subtlety and elegantly hand-stamped with an embossed logo, making each more readily identified by quality materials and construction. “We did a lot of research on the history of leather making and found that although the concept of hallmarking was used in precious metals, there was no similar method to signify quality in leatherwork,” said Sharman. “So we created our own Gladstn London marque. The three icons—our initials GL, the Gryphon which symbolizes London, and 15, the year of our establishment. These icons are embossed on all our bags as our signature of uncompromising craftsmanship and enduring quality.”
Gladstn London Marque
The brand is built upon the rules of bespoke craftsmanship and the revival of nearly extinct hand-crafting practices of senior master artisans who utilize the finest leathers from Europe’s most coveted tanneries, and the highest quality hardware, double bathed in satin Palladium and crafted by Florentine jewelers. Linings are made from Alcantara, a man-made fabric famed for its soft cashmere feel. Stitching is where Gladstn London truly stands out; six stitches to every inch is house standard. Gladstn London is also excited to be working with plant based alternatives to leather.
“We’ve always made bags in very small numbers,” said Sharman, who is proud of his company’s independent status. When asked to name similarly positioned leather goods companies, he cites iconic brands such as Marc Cross in the US, Valextra in Italy, Connolly in the UK, and even super brands such as Tom Ford and Berluti. “Our customers don’t want to walk down the street and see three other people with the same bag. They like to know they are buying something that not many other people have—and that can be quite difficult in an industry that is geared towards volume.”
Gladstn London Renegade
Just like its products, Gladstn London fans fly slightly under-the-radar in their Gladstn fandom, choosing sophisticated style and quality over flash and sass. That being said, iconic celebrity stylist Patricia Field of Sex and the City and The Devil Wears Prada fame recently gifted a Gladstn London Carte Blanch bag to actress Kim Cattrall. The brand (recipient of Luxury Briefing’s Emerging Brand of the Year in 2019 and Corporate Live Wire’s 2022/23 Luxury Luggage Brand Of The Year) is sold exclusively at Harrods in the UK, and direct to consumer via the Gladstn London website. Shipping and returns are free, and for the US, Canada, and Europe duty is paid. “We have always chosen to sell our bags online as we only make a small number,” said Sharman. “We like to make it easy for our customers to get their bag of choice wherever they are in the world so we have decided to start retailing a selection of our bags in chosen luxury locations around the world. Very soon you will also be able to see a selection of our bags in the Caribbean and in the United States. We want our customers to be able to view our bags in selected retail environments they associate with luxury as well as being able to buy easily and with confidence directly from us with our concierge service on hand to answer any questions.
“As with a trusted friend, our bags are there for all your journeys, with an edited elegance that works with your style,” said Sharman. “Our bags fall into your wardrobe, slip into your life, and turn heads. Being asked, “where did you get that beautiful bag?” will for me always be a real compliment in life.”
Gladstn London Everyday Friends Collection
Photos courtesy of Gladstn London