‘All walks of life’

Style, Trends

Discover the Dalston-based brand ruling the rucksack game right now

Everyone owns a rucksack. From the guy with the tattoos, and the perfectly untamed beard to the suave, sophisticated businessman. It seems that over the last few years rucksack sales have rocketed. Overtaking briefcases and satchels in the market, they have become much more than a gap year staple.

These bags are covering the streets of London in all shapes, sizes and colours. Herschel, Eastpak, Sandqvist and more. But, Dalston is home to a name challenging these big labels; Stighlorgan, an accessories brand with a strong focus on rucksacks.

With the creative director and head designer, Christian Bourke, being Dublin-born, the brand uniquely channels a modern Irish aesthetic. Beginning with its name, a Gaelic spelling of Stillorgan, the designer’s hometown. Located at 1 Stoke Newington Road, the brand’s flagship store is inspired by the New York subway. The shop interior echoes the American and European influence on Ireland with aluminium carriage seats and a fridge full of Berlin beer, Clubmate.

‘All walks of life’ is the slogan of Stighlorgan. A perfect reference for their customer base here in Dalston. Settling in Dalston in 2000, Bourke says: “I watched the area develop in only positive ways.” And with a brand and a product that attracts a diverse audience, Dalston seemed an obvious choice for Bourke’s flagship store.

Despite being miles away from home and immersed in his new London life, Bourke was not ready to forget his roots. He was conscious of the lack of successful Irish brands and admits: “I became obsessed with the thought that it must be possible to embody modern Irish style in a kind of product I had learnt to create.”

This was far from a farfetched dream for the Central Saint Martins graduate. In 2000 he managed to establish Stighlorgan, with the help of partner, Yvonne Li, who encouraged a clear direction for the brand. Not to mention the years the Dubliner spent hopping between various brands. Bourke credits his time at Paul Smith, Fred Perry, Ben Sherman and Tommy Hilfiger for helping him grasp the importance of identity to create a successful brand.

For Stighlorgan, Irish identity is evident in the product itself. The designer says: “The Irish are born travelers; bags are a vital part of travel”. Even the logo pays homage to Bourke’s roots; a rope design inspired by the Celtic clan. Rope, is an important component for the brand. Not only does it make up the metal logo found on every bag but most designs incorporate the material. For SS16 it features on a range of rucksacks, in a mixture of leather and their trademark water resistant material.


The collection is now available in a number of shops across the world, including Japan and America. The designer says: “It has very much been a forging process where the initial concept behind our style has evolved from asking questions to making statements about who we are.”

Stighlorgan is more unique than any other brand on people’s backs at the moment. With its distinguishable heritage and innovative design, Bourke is certain, “this modern Irish aesthetic we promote is growing in recognition and popularity.”

Visit  Stighlorgan’s website here to shop the brand’s SS16 collection.


image sourced from http://www.stighlorgan.com






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