The UK once boasted around 4,000 tanneries; today only 23 remain. As British brands looked abroad in search of lower costs, a once thriving local industry became a shadow of its former glory.
When Padfield founder Loren first discovered just how few of her favourite British brands manufacture their accessories from start to finish on our shores, she began a journey to meet and work with local people and local workshops.
Britain has a wealth of farmers caring for pasture-reared free-range cows, of fabricators creating the finest of tools and of artisans who have honed their skills to produce work of the highest standard. Today, Padfield draws deep from this talent pool to offer a range of beautifully crafted accessories, all skilfully made in England from British tanned leather.
By rooting her brand on British soil and choosing local craftsmanship, Loren knows that Padfield is playing an invaluable part in safeguarding the future of British artisans and manufacturing; doing so responsibly while offering excellent value.
Padfield crafts small batches on demand. This approach is taken across the entire collection, from the stylish Somersley tote and Somerset bags to the perennial unisex small accessories, including laptop covers, cosmetics pouches, wash bags and card holders.
While Loren’s commitment to celebrate British craftsmanship is unwavering, she knows that its survival will not be possible without customers who are increasingly conscious of the provenance of the products they buy and the brands they support. ‘In choosing to buy truly British-made, it will ultimately be these customers who save our tanneries and British craftsmanship,’ she says.
‘Padfield is thankful for the relationship it has with its customers,’ Loren continues. ‘They are attracted to us for the style, quality and value we offer. The fact that everything is British made is the icing on the cake. It is through conversations with our customers that we move forward, refining and expanding the Padfield collection. The arrival of the new Sloane bag – with a softer silhouette – and the compact new Somerset clutch are a direct result of listening to their needs and wants.’
Then there is the environmental benefit of minimising the brand’s CO2 footprint. To offset this further, for every handbag sold, Padfield plants a tree in a UK forest. In partnering with Creating Tomorrow’s Forests, Padfield is supporting its transformative work creating green habitats across the UK.
‘If brands do not strive for more than maximising profit, then we will lose what remains of a precious part of British heritage,’ says Loren. ‘Together we can celebrate and be the champions of British craftsmanship. Together we can be the homegrown heroes.’