It’s almost impossible to envision a dapper Englishman without his recognizable Swaine Adeney Brigg umbrella. Besides making rainy days stylish, Swaine Adeney Brigg, the traditional luxury brand that is synonymous with quality and tradition, is also London’s celebrated maker of leather goods, hats and other luxury items that appeal to both sexes.
It’s easy to fall in love with the iconic Brigg Umbrellas since there’s one to suit every taste. Handles are made from bamboo, hickory, whangee, crocodile or sterling silver, just to name a few of the materials used for their manufacture. One can choose nylon or silk for the canopy, typically in black for men and a variety of colors for women. They can be personalized with engraving and come in different lengths to assure comfort. The brand knows how to brighten up a rainy day: their Malacca Flask Umbrella features a Malacca Cane two-piece handle with a fitted screw-in drinking flask ready to be filled with your favorite spirit.
In the heart of London’s historic St James Street, the flagship store showcases their hand-crafted items. Established in 1750 as makers and purveyors of fine equestrian requisites, Swaine Adeney Brigg continues to uphold the tradition of handcrafting. All items are carefully constructed in artisan workshops near Cambridge and Northamptonshire.
Historically, Swaine Adeney Brigg has kept the Queen and Royal family dry and equipped with leather goods for over two centuries. Swaine Adeney Briggs have been members of the Royal Warrant Holder’s Association since 1893, and the firm currently holds Royal Warrants of Appointment: they serve as whip and glovemakers for H.R.M. Queen Elizabeth II and supplier of umbrellas to His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales. In the 2011 wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton, Swaine Adeney Brigg created the leather goods used for Royal and State carriages and chariots.
In 1980, when Steven Spielberg and Harrison Ford were searching for the perfect hat for Indiana Jones, Swaine Adeney Brigg modified the Herbert Johnson Poet Hat and produced it in a brown sable color. Since then, the emblematic Indy Hat has appeared in several films and continues to be sold to Indiana Jones fans and hat lovers, alike.
Indiana Jones is not the only fictional character that the brand has accessorized. Agent 007’s black leather briefcase featured in From Russia with Love was designed by Swaine Adeney Brigg, and they continue to sell a replica of the memorable briefcase, lined with red skiver. With a little help from the exemplary firm, we can all look as distinguished as James Bond.
Swaine Adeney Brigg’s craftsmanship is now documented in a book titled In Good Hands, which includes the full story of Swaine Adeney Briggs and is accompanied by more than 160 color illustrations, including paintings, historical prints, drawings and newly commissioned photographs. The book is a great addition for anyone interested in the lively interplay of trade and craftsmanship in Britain over the past 250 years, or only a devoted fan of the brand.
The Swaine Adeney Brigg brand is classic and iconic. It prides itself in preserving traditional craft skills and creating quality, timeless items. In-house repair workers ensure that when you purchase a Swaine Adeney Brigg creation, it will be a classic piece that will last you a lifetime. ■
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