From jewel tones and neon colours to classic leather and distressed finishes, the leather satchel has come a long way from its humble beginnings. Worn by everyone from children to teenagers, working professionals to A-List celebrities, this traditional accessory has become an institution in itself. Here at Scaramanga, we like ours handmade in an ethical way, and pride ourselves on a range of finishes and styles. Many of our bags come with a small history lesson – they’re modelled around traditional school bags from the mid-twentieth century, and feature the same style of hardware and fastenings. The first bags of this style, however, were used centuries before during the Roman times – to find out more about the origins of your favourite accessory, read on for the Scaramanga guide to the history of leather satchels.
Evidence gathered from archaeological remains and poetry shows that satchels next popped up around 300AD, on the shoulders of monks bringing Christianity to Scotland. Similarly to their use in Roman times, the leather bags were chosen for their practicality, and would have allowed the easy transportation of heavy religious texts to spread the world of God. Fragments discovered by historians have indicated that these bags were fairly large, and could have held such works as ‘The Book of Kells’, one of the most famous Christian manuscripts from this period. Book satchels are regarded as incredibly important during this time, as they played a vital role in Scotland’s conversion to Christianity.
Leather satchels continued their rise in popularity, appearing throughout the middle of the twentieth century as leather school bags, and then exploded back onto the fashion scene around five years in a range of colours, styles and sizes. Here at Scaramanga we pioneered bring back traditional leather satchels back to life with a minimum of modern tweaks. Our favourites are the versions that honour the bag’s beginnings, but still manage to stand their own amongst modern day styles and trends.