Travel in style: Timeless leather goods from LONB

Melissa Morris, creative director and co-founder of the luxury accessories brand on how she drew from vintage design for its new collection


Simply put, my partner and I created LONB because for a long while we experienced a gap in the market. We looked for luxury leather goods that were not only beautifully made, but also functioned seamlessly with the demands of our dynamic, busy lifestyles. In essence, we felt the considerations that are put into traditional travel goods needed to be translated into day bags. We realised that in today's world, travel is no longer just when you are away from home, but rather we are also travelling on our everyday journey from morning to night. The more we looked around, the more we realised how many like-minded people felt the same way.

Life has never been more dynamic than it is today. More than ever, we are all constantly on the go. We have the ability to create our own rules for how we want to live our lives. In today's global world, more people live between cities, creating their own definition of what a work-life balance means for them. Unlike generations before, today we are allowed to find our own way to have a family, a career and a social life. We don’t have to choose. We have the ability to escape the traditional constructs of lifestyle stereotypes and live life on our own terms. We can have our cake and eat it too.

With all this opportunity comes the realisation that we are busier than ever. We multitask and work hard to maintain this renegade sort of life. And let's face it, we just don't have time to unpack or repack. We don't have time to search endlessly in our bag for the keys we know we left on the kitchen table by mistake. Or run home to change between the events of the day.

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This was exactly the gap in the market we were experiencing. We needed a bag that could move with us and change as the needs of our day change. Equally, we wanted something beautifully made with perfected craftsmanship to inspire us along the way. What can I say? We wanted it all. So we created LONB to do just that.

Now, I should mention that neither my partner nor I are very 'techy'. We would not be happy, for example, with a bag that would require a training manual to operate. Rather, we prefer simplistic functionality that does the job in the most intuitive of ways. We noticed that the makeshift solutions we both used – pouches inside bags, smaller bags inside bigger bags or, in my case, the large, open tote coupled with a chic handbag – were the same solutions everyone around us had also came up with. Rather than redefining how you organise yourself and carry your things, our collection offers a way of doing exactly that, but in a more thoughtful, refined and luxurious way.

I took most of my inspiration from vintage cars and watches from the 1960s. To me, this was the era when perfected quality and simplistic functionality collided with warmth and soul. I love the way you can close the convertible roof of a vintage Alfa Romeo Spider simply by reaching behind you, pulling the top overhead and securing it with a simple snap. Or the Rolex GMT-Master developed for Pan Am pilots, which was the first watch to display two time zones with the clever yet simple turn of a dial.

While I look at the functional design of these pieces, I also love their timelessness. This was when quality really mattered: no shortcuts were taken. When you close the car door of a vintage Porsche 911, you hear an inimitable 'cluck'. No stone was left unturned, no detail was left unconsidered.

All this was blended with the authentic soul and passion of the 1960s that inspires me to no end. Films, books, music and art expressed a new freedom, a rebellion against social constructs. I suppose it's the same rebellious spirit that I already referred to, although this time around, we are all individually rebelling to create our own rules in life, rather than collectively rebelling against society as a whole. Nonetheless, my favourite artistic creations come from this era and served as a huge inspiration for the spirit of LONB.

This brings me to the collection I have created for LONB. We wanted to offer pieces, for both men and women, which translate seamlessly between daily and overnight travels, as well as throughout the day itself. We started off with two core ideas. First, the collection comprises timeless luxury leather goods. These products are not to be replaced season after season, but meant for now and always. This meant we wanted one perfect bag to suit one need. This meant one weekender, one backpack, one day-bag and so on.

Secondly, I think we all can agree that finding our essential items in our bag – our phone, keys, wallet, passport – is somehow consistently impossible. I used to be convinced that my phone would move around inside my bag just to keep me on my toes. So we wanted to create something inside our bags that organises all our essential items. But we didn't stop there. We also wanted it to be easy to transfer our essentials from bag to bag so we will never forget anything, and we also wanted it to be its own bag for the moments when we have less to carry.

Our signature item, The Runaway, does just that. It clips into the back of all our day and overnight bags, merging with the interior back panel of the bag and allowing you to access your essentials with ease. I designed the pockets on The Runaway for specific purposes, but I also made sure that they are flexible enough so that you can use them in whichever way you choose. There are also many hidden compartments that I won’t tell you about, but would like you to discover as you use it and make The Runaway your own. Using the flip locks, you can simply unclip and reclip The Runaway between bags so you never have to unpack or repack. And the piece de resistance? You can fold The Runaway together and it becomes a portfolio for men or a shoulder bag or clutch for women. The design allows you to just as easily access your essentials when it is folded or when it is hanging inside your bag, through double-entry pockets and the simple way it closes.

Each bag in and of itself also has all the additional considerations required for that particular journey, in addition to your essentials. Like The Runaway, this has been developed in a way that is reduced to perfection. Functionality is just one part of our brand, though. Equally important is quality and soul. It is the perfect intersection of these three values, which serves as the DNA for LONB.

We use the highest-quality leathers from Italy and France. Our hardware is made from solid brass and also comes from Italy. Our flip locks, which are featured on the aforementioned Runaway, were designed to mimic that 'cluck' when you close the door of a vintage Porsche 911. We worked tirelessly on achieving just the right touch.

To no surprise, all of our bags are made in Italy with artisanal skill that is rare today. I would say that the hardest part of bringing my designs to life was striking the balance between the required structure needed for inside the bag with the refined, unbuttoned spirit on the outside – I wanted that coveted, effortless slouch. We might be busy and moving a mile a minute on the inside, but on the outside, I wanted Jane Birkin or Steve McQueen. After we perfected our first bag, our Italian team said, 'Melissa! On the outside, it's one thing. On the inside, it's another world!'

Speaking of the inside, you will notice that all our bags have the same colour lining. This is our house colour, Amarone, and was inspired by my partner, Reinhard Mieck, and my favourite wine of the same name. You will notice we do not have loud external branding on the outside of our bags. Rather, we chose our signature to be on the inside, as something personal and special for the wearer to enjoy. This also allows our clients to choose any colour and material combination of Runaway and bag, and all selections will perfectly go together.

Every detail is considered. I could tell you a story about every element, but I will restrain myself. Just to give you an idea, when you come to visit us at our new flagship shop at 59 South Audley Street, take a look at the base of all the bags. You will notice they are curved inward so they are more comfortable when the bag hits your leg as you dash towards your next flight.

This brings me to the name of our brand itself, LONB. What does that mean, you might ask? Well, it stands for our philosophy: Love Or Nothing Baby. It means to do something perfectly or don't do it at all. In our case, perfection means careful consideration of what our customer needs, impeccable quality that is made to stand the test of time and a soulful spirit, which inspires and represents who we are. It's a homage to the zeitgeist of the 1960s, a spirit I think we all can agree is stirring again.

MELISSA MORRIS is the co-founder and creative director of LONB with Reinhard Mieck. They met while working for a large global luxury brand and decided to set up on their own, channelling their experience, both professional and personal, into an intelligent new idea for luxury bags and travel accessories. LONB can be found exclusively at 59 South Audley Street, London W1 and at

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