Gladstn London is case in point
When world traveler Richard Sherman became frustrated with the multiple bags he needed to properly transport his personal belongings, he decided to create his own perfect bag. While spending time in global airport lounges, he began to conceptualize the ideal carry-on. “In my own experience traveling the world on business, I could never find a cabin trolley that worked for me or a briefcase that was just right,” Sherman said. She begins to envision a bag(s) that will complement her style preferences. “I wanted something beautiful, that would be appreciated for its understated elegance and color, yet functional and stylish, to be shared for all trips, not just business trips or vacations.”
Richard Sherman, founder of Gladstone London. Photo by Matt Madden Photography.
The result? Gladstone London. Sharman, a former business executive, left his previous profession to devote himself to the creative process of creating a collection of luxury leather bags perfect for various needs. When creating his bags, he carefully chose people’s journeys, what they need and carry. Production began in 2015 with a focus on business, travel and everyday products for a predominantly male audience looking for small, quality, contemporary luxury leather bags that enhance personal style. But the brand’s early androgynous and gender-neutral designs also appealed to a woman. Nowadays, apart from its core core products, the brand makes bags in smaller and lighter sizes keeping its female fan base in mind.
The Gladstn London collection features an curated selection of silhouettes; Each is effortlessly chic, and each serves a well-defined purpose. Within the Everyday Friends collection, customers will receive a bag for each trip. The hands free backpack (two sizes) has many pockets (with top quality zippers), and padded room for a laptop. It slips easily under an airplane seat. Pair it with the small Freedom of the City handbag for the perfect travel duo. This Venetian calf leather bag is ideal if sunglasses, phone and credit cards are all you need. 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 that easily fits into an overhead bin.
Gladstone London Hands Free Backpack
Gladstone London Carte Blanche
For beach activities, the Hampton bag is an everyday tote. Case in point soft construction briefcase is required for business outings. The Renegade is a generous city bag with woven shoulder strap, padlock and key, and can go anywhere carte blanche with its distinctive pyramidal shape and snap lock clasp. And for a quick overnight getaway, the generously sized Late Nights and Lie Ins hold all the essentials.
Additionally, Gladstn London features limited edition items, and their bespoke department allows for client collaboration to create unique, personalized items. “Being able to do things for our customers and being able to uncover new materials helps bring their dream bag to life,” says Sherman. “It’s something we value and a refreshing alternative in a luxury industry where so much is produced.”
Gladstone London Late Nights and Lie Inns
Gladstn London Limited Edition Bag
“Hands-on, creative, and commercial is something I love,” says Sherman, who named his company in homage to the iconic British Gladstone bag, the catalyst for the growth of the ‘London Made’ leather craft, four times named after the UK. Prime Minister William Gladstone (1809-1898). “I consider it a privilege to work with artisans and women whose mission is to preserve the past and protect the future. It’s so rewarding when I see our bags being shared in their journeys, complementing our customer’s style preferences and becoming their friend, just as my bags are to me.”
Gladstone London bags are understated luxury, built to stand the test of time. Designed in London and manufactured in Italy, each is delicately and elegantly hand-stamped with an embossed logo, making each one more easily identifiable 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 on precious metals, there was no corresponding method for indicating the quality of leatherwork,” Sharman said. “So we created our own Gladstone London Mark. Three icons—our initials GL, the Gryphon symbolizing London, and 15, our founding year. These icons are embossed on all our bags as a signature of our uncompromising craftsmanship and enduring quality.
Gladston London Mark
The brand is based on the principles of bespoke craftsmanship and the revival of the almost extinct hand-crafting practice of senior master craftsmen who use the finest leathers from Europe’s most coveted tanneries and the highest quality hardware, double bathed in satin palladium and made by Florentine. Jeweller’s linings are made from Alcantara, a man-made fabric famous for its soft cashmere feel. Stitching is where Gladstone London truly stands out; Six stitches per inch is the house standard. Gladstone London is also excited to work with plant-based alternatives to leather.
“We’ve always made a very small number of bags,” says Sharman, who is proud of his company’s independent status When asked to name leather goods companies in the same position, he mentions iconic brands like Mark Cross of the US, Valextra of Italy, Connolly of the UK and even super brands like Tom Ford and Berluti. “Our customers don’t want to walk down the street and see three other people with the same bag. They want to know they’re buying something that a lot of others don’t have — and that can be quite difficult in an industry that’s geared toward volume.”
Gladstone London Renegade
As with its products, Gladstone London fans fly somewhat under the radar in their Gladstone fandom, choosing sophisticated style and quality over flash and sass. That being said, iconic celebrity stylist Patricia Field is off Sex and the City And The Devil Wears Prada Fame recently gifted actress Kim Cattrall a Gladstone London Carte Blanch bag. The brand (recipient of Luxury Briefing’s Emerging Brand of the Year in 2019 and Corporate Live Wear’s Luxury Luggage Brand of the Year 2022/23) is sold exclusively at Harrods in the UK and direct to consumers via the Gladstn London website. Shipping and returns are free, and duties are paid for the US, Canada and Europe. “We’ve always chosen to sell our bags online because we only do a small number,” Sharman said. “We want to make it easy for our customers to get their favorite bag wherever they are in the world so we decided to start retailing a selection of our bags in selected luxury locations around the world. Very soon you will be able to see a selection of our bags in the Caribbean and the US. We want our customers to be able to see our bags in a select retail environment that they feel is luxury as well as to be able to buy from us with ease and confidence with our concierge service to answer any questions.
“Like a trusted friend, our bags are there for all your journeys, with an edited elegance that works with your style,” said Sharman. “Our bags fit into your wardrobe, slip into your life and turn heads. Being asked, “Where did you get such a beautiful bag?” For me will always be a real compliment in life.”
Gladstone London Collection of everyday friends
Photo courtesy of Gladstone London