Ones to Watch – Charlie Borrow
I’ve know Charlie for a few years now and I’m always inspired by his hard graft and talent. Focusing on bags and small leather goods he’s built his name-sake brand with integrity and offering exceptionally high quality hand made products. Plying his trade since 2013 I’ve been lucky to see his growth and deserved success – always a challenging thing for a small business, trying to figure out when to outsource aspects of work etc. Luckily, for now, Charlie keeps producing everything in-house and hand makes himself. Although it gives him a lot to do, it’s something that he wants to control and is happy in producing the numbers that is physically possible within his limits.
Charlie’s workshop is on London’s famous Columbia Road, where you can find him hand making commissions and wholesale orders for his Japanese clients. His collection epitomises timeless design using premium materials across all products, where leathers are sourced from renowned tannery J & JF Baker & Co. Stand out products are the Pilot Bag (which I bought from him early 2018), Rolltop Rucksack and Coal Bag. If you’re lucky you can find some bags available if you pay him a visit, however, online it’s a made-to-order scenario where you can choose from a variety of fabrics, leathers and colours.
My Pilot Bag goes with me pretty much everywhere. It’s a good size to carry a host of things such as my laptop and charger, metal water bottle, notebook, spare layering top etc. I have it made in the military waxed cotton and when I first started using it, it was pretty rigid but the fabric has softened up nicely compared to the 24oz canvas. The handles have a lovely fold on the grip so it’s very comfortable to cary which means I tend to carry it around that way – despite there also being a shoulder strap which I keep attached just in case. The bag also includes two small internal pockets with an external pocket ideal for your cigarettes, business cards and such.
Charlie uses other British supplies including B.B. Stanley Brother Ltd foundry for his brass hardware as he likes the traditional look and the way it ages. There are differences of colour in the buckles and copper rivets, which for some might seem sloppy to clash, however this is a choice that through wear and tear they end up looking very similar in colour. I have one of his key clips for a couple of years now and after all there wear and tear they blend in together really well. It’s little quirks like that that give a charm to the product and know that you will be using for many years. I’m actually envisioning that I will be using my Pilot Bag and Key Clip for a long time. I strongly encourage you get hold of your very own Charlie Borrow leather good or luggage.
118 Columbia Road, London, E2 7RG, UK
Monday – Friday | 11 am – 6.30 pm
Saturday | Closed
Sunday | 11 am – 4.00 pm