Stefan Cooke Mulberry

Stefan Cooke & Jake Burt on the importance of reworking pre-loved Mulberry bags

Stefan Cooke & Jake Burt on the importance of reworking pre-loved Mulberry bags

by Eric Brain
5 min

By the time you’re reading this, Stefan Cooke and Jake Burt would have kicked off London Fashion Week SS24. Their eponymous label, Stefan Cooke, has quickly become one of the UK capital’s most adored brands, celebrated for its ability to make menswear that little bit more sexy thanks to its signature slash motif. Now, the slash comes to life across a Mulberry collaboration, coming as part of the Mulberry Editions series. Furthermore, it’s also the first collaborative collection to use pre-loved styles from the leather good brands’ circular economy programme, The Mulberry Exchange.

Together, Cooke and Burt are the dynamic duo of London’s fashion scene. Stefan Cooke’s identity subverts and employs technical expertise in the use of textiles, and it consistently draws inspiration from menswear traditions to inform its silhouettes. Therefore, collaborating with a heritage label like Mulberry is a perfect match, and Stefan Cooke’s interpretations of the Bayswater, Lily, and Roxanne bags are equally spot-on.

Mulberry’s Somerset facility, The Rookery, which is close to Cooke’s childhood home, has hand-reworked 27 bags as part of this collaborative effort. And as if the blending of these two brands’ identities didn’t make enough sense already, Cooke and Burt have tapped into their understanding of “what luxury sustainable craft can mean in the 21st century” by democratising the Fashion Week system – Stefan Cooke x Mulberry is a see-now-buy-now initiative; by the time you’re reading this, the bags can be yours (but more on that later).

The Stefan Cooke x Mulberry Bags

The bags in question feature four signature Stefan Cooke techniques, which are often present on its jumpers, shoes, and as appliqués on garments like jackets or trousers. “Bows,” “Swing,” “Braid,” and “Slash” embellishments elevate the pre-loved Mulberry collection, while oversized tassels made from upcycled rugby shirts, chunky button straps and archival Mulberry printed silk scarf straps all feature alongside dual-branded shield motifs and authentically-patined Mulberry hardware. Put by Cooke himself, the collaboration “feels like a real marriage of ideas and a new blueprint in terms of pre-loved design.”

Mulberry CEO Thierry Andretta added: “Mulberry’s circularity programme is fundamental to our Made to Last strategy, and Stefan and Jake’s innovative approach to design and repurposing makes them a truly exciting partner. Together we have crafted a collection which celebrates creativity and progressive British craftsmanship with circularity at its heart.”

Culted caught up with Stefan Cooke and Jake Burt earlier in the week to understand more about this collaboration. Read on to find out all you need to know:

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How does the Mulberry collaboration and brand identity fit into the Stefan Cooke aesthetic?

We have often used vintage bags that have been mended and presented often as exactly what they are, so to be able to take these pieces and rework them in a luxury setting and to a luxury level sits naturally within our identity.

How did you go about translating this aesthetic onto such iconic Mulberry bags?

We are quite lucky that as a brand, whether we wanted to or not,  we have created unique, recognisable signatures. It was interesting fitting these motifs and ideas onto 27 individual bags, and considering how each one would work together in a very hands-on way directly with the artisans at the Mulberry factory in Somerset. Each bag was considered and designed so it all feels natural as a collaboration.

What does the collaboration offer your audience, or perhaps a new audience, that Stefan Cooke bags did not already provide?

It capitalises on how extensive and committed the Mulberry customer already is to Mulberry and gives a sense of trust in anything that is associated with them. Our values are very similar and now we can show our identity to a new customer. The crossover of both our cult followings will bring in a new audience that will appreciate both brands.

Why was heritage and identity core to the design process?

Because we were designing with something that already had heritage and identity and we were building our own design language upon it. We always design considering where the piece will live and the quality it needs to be to continue functioning.

Why was it important to use pre-loved bags?

We love the idea of reworking and refining pre-loved bags, and bringing a new level of history to designs – with an exceptional level of craft. So when Mulberry approached us to create a capsule focused entirely on pre-loved bags, it was an exciting opportunity.

What does this collaboration mean for the Stefan Cooke brand?

Seeing the fabrications we developed in our studio translated by the leather artisans at the Mulberry factory has been amazing.

The Stefan Cooke x Mulberry Pre-Loved collaboration is available to purchase now at the Mulberry Pre-Loved Pop Up (open from September 16 for nine days at 12 Poland Street, Soho, London), as well as at the Mulberry flagship store on Regent Street, and globally on the Mulberry website on September 15. Prices start from £1,195 for Stefan Cooke x Mulberry pieces, which are all one-off, while a wider range of Mulberry Pre-Loved bags start from £200.

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