The beauty of bespoke at Dunhill's Walthamstow workshop
From its modest London manufacturing base, the British heritage house creates unique leather goods for those wanting one-of-a-kind
Dunhill has come a long way since its humble beginnings as an equestrian harness-maker, but the company hasn't forgotten its roots in leather craft.
Alfred Dunhill began his career in 1887 as an apprentice in his family's London business. However, he was fascinated by the motoring craze that spread across the country in the early years of the new century and when his father retired, he transformed the firm into a manufacturer of automotive accessories.
Dunhill soon became renowned for selling "everything but the motor", including leather goods, clothing, goggles and headlights, attracting a clientele Alfred proudly described as "practically the whole motoring public". Today, while still inspired by its illustrious heritage, Dunhill is renowned as a purveyor of luxury menswear and accessories.
Alongside the collection of wares sold in store, Dunhill's bespoke leather-goods service - based at its workshop in Walthamstow, London - caters to those with particularly exacting requirements and takes commissions for everything from personalised car interiors to one-of-a-kind weekend bags.
The workshop has been in operation since 1936 and Dunhill's team of expert craftspeople - some of whom have been employed there for three decades - still create the very finest in leatherware.
For bespoke leather, clients can discuss precise requests, specifying the design and fabrication of a range of fashion and interior accessories, including wallets, briefcases, technology cases, suites of luggage and more.
From a meticulously made holdall to a series of suitcases with exacting compartment sizes, each piece is crafted in the workshop entirely by hand. While it takes, on average, 30 hours to complete one piece, the time required depends on the complexity of the design. Dunhill has always been a master of reinvention, meaning the possibilities for innovation are - almost - endless.