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Tried & Tested: Ghurka Leather Goods

January 16, 2012

Last month I caught up with a few of the people behind Ghurka, at their new Fifth Avenue location to discuss the American leather goods company.  On top of opening a new store (781 Fifth Avenue), they’re also getting back to basics.  After acquiring the patterns and leathers from the original collection, it was quickly realized that there was no need to reinvent the wheel.  Taking cues from what helped create the Ghurka reputation, most of what they needed had already been done and a loyal following established.  The store itself is lined with vintage pieces, which were used as templates for some of the newer models.  While the line is new, most of what’s being produced is either one-for-one to the originals or has a simple change-up with updated fabrics such as wool or canvas.

At the end of the day, the quality of a product is what’s most important, and this has been something Ghurka has always understood and valued.  From hide to handbag, every detail is scrutinized at the company’s Connecticut and New York factories.  With a relatively minimal workforce, many of the people who were making these bags when Ghurka was started in the 70s are still at the helm using the same techniques and tools.  It’s this level of experience and appreciation that’s evident in the final product.  Personally, I like to know that what I buy is going to last a long time and in some ways an investment, so it’s nice to see company with this type of integrity.

For those unfamiliar, Ghurka not only makes good bags, they have a pretty good story, too.  Founded in 1975, Ghurka was initially inspired by a pair of officer’s boots found at an auction.  The boots, worn by a British Ghurka officer in India 75 years earlier, were still in great shape and as most things at the time, made well.  So impressed, the company’s founder, Marley Hodgson searched out exactly how the boots were made, tracking down the tanning process all the way up to how they were constructed.  Utilizing the same techniques, Ghurka was born.

If you’re in New York, stop by their new flagship store in the Sherry Netherland at 781 Fifth Avenue.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. January 28, 2012 20:14

    I love the chocolate bag. Just went on their website to see the prices… Maybe one day!

  2. Marsha T. Miller permalink
    August 9, 2013 02:36

    I had the privilege of working for Marley and Linda Hodgson in their New York showroom
    from 1976-79. I was 29 years old. They are the finest employers and most decent people
    I ever knew in my life. No one has ever measured up to them since. I look back on that
    time with fondness and gratitude. I remember when the Ghurka Collection took off and
    flew. Marley Hodgson was a magnificent talent in the industry.

  3. September 4, 2019 16:13

    Still the finast leather products made in America and possibly the world. No fads,no trends,no chasing fickle millenials for business just good,tradtuonal,top quality products that last forever. A true statement of class and status,unlike flashy logo filled products of inferior quality

  4. Mr Crackers permalink
    May 11, 2020 16:28

    I appreciate their older, more traditional designs. Some of their new designs are questionable, but if you take care of these products, they will last for generations. I don’t mean “baby” them, they can nod out take abuse from the airline throwers, but I mean treat the leather on occasion. I have several of their products from the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s which rival anything offered by any leather manufacturer today. And they will no doubt last for the rest of my lifetime, to be enjoyed further, buy whomever I will them to. Cheers –

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