There’s a certain look that secret agents of the silver screen adopt, and it straddles the line between business and practical wear – inconspicuously dressed yet ready to dodge a bullet. These characters are also overwhelmingly sharp dressers, as a reflection of their equally sharp minds, and some of the most prestigious brands in the world have been recruited to put spies like James Bond in appropriate garb: Turnbull & Asser has provided shirts and ties; Tom Ford and Brunello Cucinelli have crafted sharp suits; and for hard-wearing leather, of course, there’s none more appropriate than British-based Cromford Leather Company.
In 1997’s Tomorrow Never Dies, for example, the leather experts created a brown collared jacket with bellows pockets and a belt, which Bond paired with khaki trousers and a rifle. For Brad Pitt’s character in 2016's Allied, the house crafted a simple, wide-collared leather zip-up, which the intelligence officer wore with a shirt and tie. And in 2017's Kingsman: The Golden Circle, Colin Firth’s signature look was comprised of a cowboy hat, pinstripe suit, eye-patch glasses and a tan shearling coat, specially-made by the London-based brand.
There’s good reason Cromford Leather has been trusted to create such pieces, as a brand whose values epitomise the best of artisanal craftsmanship. It was founded as the General Leather Company in 1971, by Savile Row-trained Alan Sprooles and Peter Goodall. Starting out as a mail-order business making made-to-measure suede trousers, it soon expanded into leather, suede and sheepskin jackets and coats. “Unlike now,” says Director Pauline Harris, “back in the 1970s there were numerous leather merchants in London, and Alan and Peter would trawl Leather Lane in Bermondsey to source quality skins in every colour of the rainbow.” The business initially grew through word of mouth, with the bespoke side blossoming through recommendations and celebrity endorsements.
It’s this made-to-order aspect that has made Cromford Leather such a popular choice for use in films, thanks to its ability to produce unique garments to exact requirements. This flexibility has also been tapped by other British houses, such as Margaret Howell and Burberry, which recruit the brand’s expertise for their leatherwork. “Cromford Leather is one of a handful of companies left in modern Britain which offers bespoke leather, sheepskin and suede tailoring, all handmade in London,” says Harris. “Forty-five years of experience and dedication to quality materials and workmanship is what sets us apart from any other offering in Britain today.”