Globe-Trotter has gone back to its roots for the AW17 collection by looking to the company's first factory headquarters, a Victorian red-brick building at 150 St John St, Clerkenwell. Globe-Trotter designer Charlotte Seddon discusses the new collection and the buzz of London’s undisputed design capital.
This AW17 collection celebrates 120 years of Globe-Trotter. The patterns in the new collection reference the Victorian factory – what did you discover about 150 St John St and the people who used to work there during your research?
I particularly loved chatting to David Crookbaine, our factory manager who used to work at the St John Street building when he first joined Globe-Trotter. He was only young when he joined but he has a great memory about the general atmosphere and characters who worked there. Factory life was a bit different to how it is now. Working in Clerkenwell was a buzz and the atmosphere was friendly due to there only being about four members of factory staff and a boss. The factory was on four floors and it ran off a Victorian shaft drive. The production line started on the fourth floor and worked its way down. Staff would get to the top floor using a lift, the last person to exit the lift was the boss who would be the one to start the drive working. Then production for the day would commence.
There was a brewery next door to the factory and David remembered seeing the horse and carriage delivering beer barrels on 'the dray'. There was also a pub next door to the brewery where sometimes David and his co-workers would spend their lunchtimes (factory rules and regulations were a bit different back then) as well as playing 'Three Card Brag' – aka Poker – or they'd visit the bookies opposite the factory, put on a bet and then listen to the results on the radio in the afternoon while making cases.
What was it about the façade in particular that you found inspiring? Were there any other design details in the building that caught your eye?
I love the pattern, it’s really beautiful and has been there since day one. There are actually two patterns on the façade but we focussed on one. I felt that it had so much scope to be used as print throughout the range. I also wanted to use it as an illustration as well as a graphic. There are many pretty patterns around the building, especially details such as brass ventilation motifs, but generally the atmosphere there is really inspiring.
What made you decide on the hand-drawn look when replicating the pattern?
These were actually developed by illustrator Chris Seddon, and I wanted to incorporate illustration with these designs in the collection to show a different interpretation of the pattern from what I could see on the façade. We also embroidered his illustrations, which look truly beautiful. It's a great contrast against the graphically embroidered styles.
Globe-Trotter cases are known for their block colours, but would you agree that pattern is playing an increasingly important role in your designs?
Globe-Trotter will always stay true to its roots when it comes to aesthetics, and remaining elegant and minimal in design is one of them. These last two seasons have concentrated on print in particular so it's been fun playing with these and having something a bit different to offer our customers.
What are your favourite pieces from the AW17 collection?
I love the Embroidered Collar Bag and Embroidered Clutch Bag – so cute, so chic!