How a UK leather goods brand updated 1800s arts & crafts designs for a new era

Morris & co x Ettinger collaboration

Through archival fabrics and intricate embossing, Morris & Co’s most famous patterns have been applied to Ettinger’s home and travel goods

Established in 1861 and 1934 respectively, British interiors firm Morris & Co and leather accessories maker Ettinger have a combined 249 years of existence. But it’s taken until 2022 for the two UK brands to get together, which they’ve done through an expressive new collection that sees Morris & Co’s archival designs printed or embossed on Ettinger’s home and travel goods.

Morris & co x Ettinger collaboration
Two zip pouches from the new collaboration

Two of Morris & Co’s iconic Arts & Crafts-era motifs are featured across the nine-piece assortment: “Marigold”, a cool blue-and-white floral that was originally created by founder William Morris in 1875 for use in fabric and wallpaper; and “Blackthorn”, a lushly colourful and intricately designed floral wallpaper that was conceived by then-head designer John Henry Dearle in 1892. The modern Morris & Co recreated them for today by researching their original wallpaper samples, assuring that the colours remained faithful to their first incarnations.

Ettinger, for its part, has introduced two new colourways to better complement the fabrics: a rich madeira blue and a warm taupe. Realised across classic Ettinger goods including jewellery trays, travel pouches and zipped coin purses, the former shade was intended to match Morris & Co’s marigold, while the latter harmonises with the more maximalist Blackthorn (a third colour new to Ettinger—milkwood—is also being used to accent items in the form of zip tabs, gusset sides, interior patches and other details).

Morris & co x Ettinger collaboration
The collection includes everything from wallets and travel pouches to a tray perfectly sized to fit your watch

According to Ettinger CEO Robert Ettinger, the impetus for the collaboration came from Morris & Co’s parent company Sanderson, which was searching for a heritage leather brand to collude with.

“Both the Sanderson/Morris & Co design team and Ettinger’s designers got together to pick the most iconic Morris & Co materials, and then matched them to Ettinger’s leather colours, to reflect both the heritage of the companies and to fit into today’s more modern design trends,” Ettinger tells Robb Report.

However, not all of the leather goods were suitable for fabric application. Four smaller items—including a bookmark, luggage tag, and key fob—were embossed with Morris & Co’s Marigold design using a new blocking technique to make a highly detailed impression.

Morris & co x Ettinger collaboration
Transferring Morris & Co’s marigold pattern onto leather required a specialist engineer

“The very intricate embossing was achieved by working with a specialist engineering company who were able to produce the metal block out of extremely durable material, therefore allowing the intricate detailing of the Morris & Co design,” Ettinger says. “This, coupled with Ettinger’s expertise in blocking designs onto leather which they have perfected over many years, allowed them to emboss an extremely fine pattern onto the leather.”

The present collection, which is being sold on Ettinger’s website and within a dedicated Morris & Co emporium in Harrod’s, may not be the last time the two British makers link up.

“Ettinger will be talking with Morris & Co about further collaborations and are already looking at some new products and designs,” Ettinger hints.

Perhaps they’re each making up for lost time.


This article was first published on Robb Report USA