Some flea market and estate sale finds are better than others. Just ask Ghurka founder Marley Hodgson, whose chance encounter with a collection of military gear at an estate sale influenced what would become a beloved American heritage brand. Now in its 41st year, the NYC-based label inspired by the bravery and indomitable spirit of the commander soldiers known as Gurkhas—not to mention the incredible quality of their gear—makes its Barneys New York debut.
Sarah Blair, Barneys’ SVP and DMM of Women’s Accessories and Shoes, calls Ghurka’s pieces “modern and timeless classics. Ghurka is renowned for beautiful French calfskin leather in rich neutrals,” she says. “The collection epitomizes exceptional craftsmanship and quality.”
That collection features plenty of Barneys-exclusive pieces, including paneled calfskin duffels, artfully distressed shoppers, and printed camouflage totes with striped detailing that serves as a nod to traditional military uniforms. Ghurka pieces are handcrafted in Italy, Spain, and the U.S. by many of the same artisans who have worked on the bags since the label’s launch in 1975.
Kathy Formby, Ghurka’s Creative Director, speaks of the brand’s enduring quality and craftsmanship, saying, “While we of course want our bags to be beautiful and eye-catching, it’s important that every piece in the collection be ready for actual everyday use. Functionality is key; we want Ghurka pieces to be enjoyed often, and for a long time.”
Quality aside, perhaps the most appealing aspect of this heritage brand is its self-proclaimed “adventurous spirit”—a love for modern nostalgia, combining the old with the new, and reinventing itself time and time again. “We’re stewards of a rich brand history,” Formby says. “We’re so happy that people will have a chance to see Ghurka in a new light.”