On the factory floor at Pittards in Yeovil, Marta, Gabbie and Gabriella are working together on a new product. They fasten strengthening layers to the leather base of a cylindrical handbag, attach a shiny brass zip, and handpaint seams so that the raw edges of the hide match the lipstick-red surface.
Pittards employs more than 150 people and does brisk business in baseball gloves, dog leads and walking boots, but the bag being made today comes with a waiting list and a £350 price tag. The Somerset Love bag, designed by Alice Temperley and named for the county where it is made, represents a new movement in the British fashion industry. Designers and models are beginning to share the spotlight with the people who actually make the clothes, bags and shoes.