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Rebecca Gutsell and Gg Bebe – her unique handmade baby shoes and stylish baby changing clutch bags.

10 Sep Bags and baby shoes by Rebecca Gutsell

Our Principal Melissa recently met up with Prescott & Mackay ex-student Rebecca on a work trip lecturing in LA where she and her family have relocated from the UK. It was fascinating to hear how Rebecca has honed her crafts skills over the years and transformed her former office based career into one that now is fully immersed in the creative sector by launching her own brand of baby products. The brand has seen great success back home and is now proving a massive hit State-side.

Pink themed baby shoes and clutch bags

Ge Bebe consists of two niche products that are tailored to sit together but have their own unique appeal. The baby shoes come in a wide choice of materials and colour ways and have a distinctive quirkiness that certainly marks their tiny tot wearers out from the crowd. LA trend-setting momnies have been falling all over themselves to get their offspring shod in a pair.

But kids are not the only ones to benefit from the brand. Rebeccas’ bags might just look like a regular clutch – albeit a very stylish one – but don’t be deceived. Once opened, their secret weapon is revealed. Fully lined in waterproof fabric, these bags miraculously transform into a baby changing kit that swiftly allows a nappy change at the drop of a hat and at any occasion without cramping anyones style, least of all the mothers. The range again comes in a choice of colour options and includes a line that draws heavily on Rebeccas British roots with references to the famous red London busses, Union Jacks and the mini cooper.

Rebecca is showcasing some of her product at the upcoming Odd Market’s event on Sep 18th at The Autry · Los Angeles, CA

Check out her Facebook page for more details

Sunny, one of our students talks about how our courses can help him with his career.

21 Jul

Sewing june 15

Sunny is one of our students, he is train in Interior Architecture Design, however he was never really in practice and got into the music industry for many years before deciding to go back to his roots of design.

He took Sewing Techniques Using Industrial Machines Course and now he would like to take Luxury Quality Small Leather Goods Course

When did you become interested in Fashion?

Fashion was always something that went along with what I am doing – the aesthetics, functionality and creating a unique solution or identity etc.

 What did you do when you first finished school?

Exhibition design for luxury brands and retail malls.

How did you discover P&M?

I was searching for a course on industrial machine and found P & M during my routine web search for interesting reads.

Which course have you done with us?

Sewing Techniques using industrial machines

What were you trying to achieve with this course?

To fully understand the technical side of leather goods making using industrial machines in order to achieve the creations I had in mind.

 Did you achieve it?

Yes, it has been very fruitful to learn fundamentals I did not apply previously.

 How is your professional career related with this course?

The course help to understand the process of bag making and I can apply them in many areas especially during the production process.

Which courses would you like to do next? Why?

Small leather accessories making to improve and learn new techniques.

Interview with bag making tutor Rachel Orme

11 Aug

We are so proud to have Rachel Orme joining our lecturers’ team. Trained at the London College of Fashion, Rachel is the Founder and Creative Director of the brand Rachel Orme, designing and manufacturing her own range of leather accessories as well as providing sampling and production services to designers and brands.

Rachel and her brand are passionate about preserving and developing traditional craft techniques. All the products are made by hand in London using the finest quality materials including Italian and Belgian leathers and Liberty fabrics.

We had the chance to have a chat with her and asked her a few questions about her career.
Prescott & Mackay: What do you love the most about being a bag designer and maker?

Rachel Orme: I love creating the initial design, sourcing the leather and fabrics that will complement the bag’s shape and function. Working with leather is very special and I get a lot of satisfaction from making my bags and accessories.

Rachel Blog one

P&M: Why did you decided to create your own brand and what makes Rachel Orme so unique?

RO: I come from a family that was involved in the retail business since the late 1800s. Unfortunately during the ‘80s much of it had dissipated. I became passionate about accessory design and working with leather whilst studying at London College of Fashion. It has been exciting creating my own brand and my family history has made it all the more poignant. I love using embossed leathers and my products are lined with Liberty cotton, the combination makes my products unique.

P&M: How do you translate your inspiration into the accessories you make?

RO: I am constantly inspired by the arts and crafts movement and Britain’s unique design heritage. There’s something special about the combination of eccentricity, quality and timeless classics that fires my imagination. My use of interesting embossed leathers is an example of referencing a period lost whilst creating a product that is perfect for modern women.

P&M: Do you have any special project you are working on at the moment?

RO: I’m currently working on my next collection which is the best part of the job.

rachel blog two

P&M: Many of our students wonder whether attending fairs can help them to achieve their goals. Lately you have been showcasing in London, what are the advantages and disadvantages of doing so?

RO: As someone starting out with their business I would strongly recommend attending one or more of the vast selection of fairs happening in London or the UK. It is great for so many reasons, including as a market research exercise and seeing which designs, leathers, colours people like. I think the person who knows your product best and has the most vested interest is yourself, and this can be great when selling direct to customers. But it can be physically exhausting and tiresome transporting your wares around and for those designers wanting to sell wholesale there are viable alternatives, including trade fairs and focusing on growing your brand through the web and social media.

P&M: You have already taught a few courses at Prescott & Mackay. How did you find the experience?

RO: I enjoy meeting new people and sometimes running your own business can be a little lonely. Teaching is great to meet people from different backgrounds who share a common love of creating. I love to see the range of designs students create, leathers they choose and seeing the final product.

rachle blog 3

P&M: What professional challenges do you see in your near future?

RO: My great challenge is always time. Trying to balance bringing up 3 daughters with a growing business is never going to be easy! You also have to wear a lot of different hats and juggle priorities – from financial planning to sales and marketing, so I’m constantly learning new skills and adapting to new challenges.

Rachel Orme has been already teaching some of Prescott & Mackay bag making courses. You can have a look at our online album to see what students made with her during the class. Rachel is teaching the next Five-Day Intensive Bag Making Course (15-19 September) and the new Bag Making Evening Class (from 23 September).

Still Made In Britain – Factories in Walsall, UK

18 Apr

Followed by the successful visit to shoe factory of high-end label T&F Slack Shoemakers London, the next tour will happen on 15 May to Walsall, guided by our bag-making tutor Lesley Taylor!

Worker at the factory of Ettinger

Worker at the factory of Ettinger

To book this tour, click here


About the Factory Tour series at Prescott & Mackay School of Fashion and Accessory Design:

Prescott & Mackay is proud to celebrate the launch of a unique ‘Made in Britain’ Factory Tour schedule, especially tailored towards students who value the rare experience of going behind the scenes of some of the UK’s most well respected and long-standing heritage brands.

The school has teamed up with key manufacturers to showcase the rich cultural history of the UK leather goods industry and help draw a greater insight into the process that makes the kind of quality product they produce so revered across the globe.  Attendees of the tour will be guided by Prescott & Mackay tutors who themselves have vast experience of working with manufactures in their own practice and of course a personnel from the factory who will lend their own knowledge of the production facility and help make this special opportunity one to remember.

Making the bag … literally

13 Dec

Making the bag … literally

Student Kate recently took our Two-Day Beginners Bag Making course and sent us a warm message after the course:

Just thought I’d forward to you a quick blog post I just did about my experience at the Beginner’s Bag course a few weeks ago.  Lesley was a really good teacher and I got a lot out of the class (including a new bag).
Happy Holidays

Check the link above to see what she has learnt and made! :)

Student Success Story: Sarah’s Bag Brand Ruxx

29 Jun

On a belt-making course at Prescott & Mackay I met Sarah Ward-Hendry, who was wearing an eton blue cardigan. I noticed that her watch was also in the same bluish green.  “This is my favourite colour,” Sarah smiled.

Sarah in the Belt Making class

Sarah was obviously not a fresh hand. The way she cuts the leather, punches the holes and burnishes the edge of the belt all shows her experience. When I am still working on my first belt, she has nearly finished her second one.  All this was explained when Sarah later told me that she has her own bag business – Ruxx.

We got together during lunch break and looked at Sarah’s company leaflets. The collections have a very clear selling point: rucksacks, all designed by Sarah. According to Sarah, only the finest leathers are used on her collection and every stitch is done in the UK.

Ruxx: backpacks

Sarah then told me her story. “Before attending P&M, I had started my business and had started sampling but I was struggling on some techniques that I had no knowledge of.  I had not been on a course for bag-making before this but had attended a short course (10 evenings) in shoemaking which helped me understand how to work with leather.”
“Then I found P&M and first attended a bag-making course with Lesley about a year and a half ago to improve some of my techniques. Lesley is so knowledgeable and the experience you gain on a 1 day or 3 day course is fantastic.  The courses cover so much in such a short amount of time but with tutors who have a commercial experience as well as skills-based one.  It has gone from strength to strength and the knowledge I gained from P&M was invaluable.”

Well, I couldn’t agree more. Every tutor at P&M is among the best in their areas, but what makes P&M unique is that students are given the opportunity to be taught by these professional practitioners. Things like how to solve the real problems students will meet in production and the source of suppliers are not taught in universities’ lectures.

Tutor Lesley is demonstrating one of the traditional leatherwork techniques: saddle stitch

So how does Sarah produce her bags? “I have struggled to find manufacturers in this country and when I started to look to find someone to sample my designs I thought it would be quicker and cheaper to buy the equipment and do it myself and that is how I started. I now make all my own samples and some stock but have a small producer I found by chance who does quantity for me.”

Sarah in her studio - in her garden shed

Then why Ruxx? “Ruxx is just a beautiful name that says it all, it relates back to my core product ‘the rucksack’ but I just love the look of the name and I think it represents quality too. It combines clever design with luxurious leathers, making rucksacks desirable not just practical.”

When I asked Sarah why she still came to the belt-making course since she has already got so many skills, she said: “I am now just gaining further knowledge on belts for my accessories section.  I love P&M and will continue to use them for furthering gaps in my knowledge.”

Just when I am writing this blog entry, I received an email from Sarah telling me that her Ruxx bag was on Grazia Daily today. Well done Sarah!

Jessie bag from Ruxx

See more RUXX bags from Sarah:

The Craftsmen – Endangered Species?

18 Apr

More than 70 years ago, the leather luxury brand Valextra was born in Milan. It’s famous for using exquisite, precious leather, and maintaining a consistantly impressive level of quality.  In an interview with “The Business of Fashion”, Valextra president Emanuele Carminati Molina told them how he revitalised the company in 2002 by approaching former Valextra craftsmen and convinced them to come back to work for the brand, believing that craftsmanship is the key factor in maintaining the brand’s soul. Now he is facing a new problem: as his highly-skilled workforce approach retirement age, who can replace them?  This is a big challenge because, according to Mr. Molina, there are very few young people who have the patience for this job,  and it takes years to learn the skills and a lifetime to reach the highest level.  

Valextra leather bag - photo via Womens Wear Daily


Valextra Slim Tundra Bag - photo via

While Mr. Molina is worrying about the education of young people and his legacy of leather craftsmanship, things aren’t quite the same in London. More and more people are showing strong interest in developing crafts skills and taking up courses such as the ones provided by us at Prescott & Mackay, especially those emphasizing traditional leather craftsmanship.  Our school always focuses on teaching technical skills and product development techniques.

In P&Ms Advanced Bag Making course, student Marion is working on a white tote bag

Starting from idea research and sketch to pattern cutting skills, students learn from industrial experts from the very first day of the course. Stimulated by their own works, many of them have discovered a passion for leather craft and have gone on to persue careers following this new interest. 

The handle detail

We hope if Mr. Molina visits our school one day, he will see how much love is held towards craftsmanship, and will be convinced that the craftsmen will not be made extinct.


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