LONDON — American leather goods company Ghurka has landed in London. Housed on the third floor of Fortnum & Mason, the new Ghurka space spans 300 square feet and will carry travel goods, humidors, watch collector boxes and outdoor sporting items alongside accessories such as wallets, pouches, and wash bags.
“The UK is really one place that really understands the heritage of the Gurkhas so there’s a very receptive and very natural audience here that understands the contribution they’ve made culturally,” said Pam Bristow, Ghurka’s executive vice president, marketing and brand strategy. “The UK really accepts our brand because we kind of represent the same values. The US is clearly our biggest market, followed very closely by Japan, where there is a lot of love for American craftsmanship. The UK is really picking up quickly behind that. In terms of bestsellers, I would say our #2 express bag is the quintessential Ghurka bag. It’s been in the line for 40 years; It is the first bag we ever produced and it is still a top seller.
Prices range from 195 pounds, or $302, for a wallet, to 1,325 pounds, or $2,058, for a Killburn II travel bag. The collection is available exclusively at Fortnum & Mason in the UK.
Ghurka has launched its G200 Collection, a 3-piece capsule collection from the brand’s archives, revamped in association with The Gurkha Welfare Trust, a UK charity that aids ex-Gurkha servicemen and their families.
Using the classic green wool from Gurkha uniform jackets, the pieces are lined in military red. In addition, three bespoke “Officer’s Field Sets” designed by Richard Wrightman, and including a table, two field chairs, a green wool blanket, two pillows and a picnic umbrella will be sold at auction, with 100 percent of the proceeds to benefit the Trust. The Gurkhas are Nepalese soldiers with their own regiment in the British Army. The Brigade of Gurkhas currently makes up about 3 percent of the British Army.
“This year is our 40th anniversary,” said Bristow. “It is also the 200th anniversary of the Gurkha regiment and their service to the British crown. So we collaborated with them on a range of products that’s fashioned from the wool of the Gurkha officers’ jackets, and lined in red to symbolize their red accents in the uniform. Some 25 per cent of the proceeds benefits the Gurkha welfare funds, which is the governing body that supports the Gurkha in the UK and supports retired Gurkha servicemen in Nepal. And we also designed this high-end picnic set and 100 percent of the proceeds of that will go to the trust as well.