The King of the Manbag – Bill Amberg – Textual Conversation

Bill Amberg Portrait


The subject of today’s Textual conversation, Bill Amberg, had a career epiphany whilst visiting a relative in Australia, who introduced  him to an inspirational mentor and leather worker, Gay Wilson, who offered him an apprenticeship in her studio making sculpture and moulded body pieces, jockey’s shoes, wallets and belts, in Adelaide. A passion for craftsmanship reignites and develops as a respect for leather, the rest they say is history.

In 1984 Bill receives his first big break when department store, Liberty, ask him to create a line of bags for them in the now trademark Bill Amberg brown English saddle leather, and they literally fly off the shelve.  Two years later Sir Paul Smith commissions Amberg to create a line of bags to be sold in Paul Smith stores under Bills own name, a collaboration that continues for nearly a decade, which is then followed by Donna Karan and Romeo Gigli. In fact, his designs are seen as soooo classic that his Rocket bag now sits as a design classic in the V&A design museum in London.

For Autumn13 Bill Amberg has gone back to his roots with a focused collection, showcasing the skills inherent in UK manufacturing. Bill Amberg staples such as the Rocket and Medicine bags, plus soft classics remain at the core of the collection and new styles accent these in exquisite leathers and tans.

Screen Shot 2013-09-09 at 17.13.02Additionally, for this season, Bill has worked with Elvis & Kresse, the lifestyle accessories brand focused on reimagining seemingly useless waste into practical luxury items, on the “Tooley” tote bag named after the street where London’s fire brigade was founded. The Tooley tote will be available in stores and online from November 2013; with Elvis & Kresse donating 50% of the profits from their fire hose range to the Fire Fighters Charity. The innovative and pioneering Fire-Hose “Tooley ” Tote bag is made from de-commissioned British fire brigade hoses which, after a distinguished career fighting fires and saving lives, were otherwise destined for landfill.

Anyway, lets hear what Bill has to say;


If you could have invented anything what would it be ?

The wheel – I would love to of been around in the early in days dragging your beasts around and then wow, the revelation of the wheel. 

If you had one day to live what would be your biggest regret ? 

No regrets – It is important to keep looking forward 

What would be the one piece of clothing you would rescue from your home in the event of a fire ? 

My glasses – they are the wayfarer design created by Shuron. 

If you could only wear one brand/Designer for the rest of your life who would it be ?  

I would choose a bespoke tailor made saville row designer, the clothes would just be so comfortable. 

Who is your style icon ?  

Peter Blake… He only ever wore one thing and looked perfectly happy and relaxed 

Tell us something no one else knows ? 

I have just got in to beekeeping which is really interesting and a funny fact for you is that bees have hairs on their eyes! 

Can you tie a bow tie ? If yes, who taught you ? 

Yes… my father 

What piece of style advise do you live by ? 

Wear comfortable clothes – don’t take yourself too seriously

What piece of clothing should everyman have in his wardrobe ? 

A good selection of T-shirts. Ones that fit every mood that you have for instance – funny, sad, girly… whatever fits the mood perfectly.. 

Have you ever bought a piece of clothing and regretted it ?  

At 14 I bought an arctic white crinkly roll neck jumper and it was so bad I was ridiculed by my entire family and so I only wore it once. I have never worn synthetic fabrics since.

Who would do you ideal diner guests and why ? 

Katherine Hepburn this woman was very stylish, well read, funny good party girl game on for anything. 

What is you most memorable moment? 

Tomorrow! You have got to keep looking forward always.



The Medicine Bag

The Medicine Bag

The Rocket Bag

The Rocket Bag

The Truffle Hunter

The Truffle Hunter




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