Brands You Should Know

Ghurka

The story behind the 40 year old American leather brand inspired by the legendary Nepalese fighting unit.

Built Ghurka Tough.

In the early 197os, Ghurka founder Marley Hodgson found himself at an estate sale in England, bidding against a diehard leather fan for a lot filled with 75-year-old bags, boots, and belts that had once belonged to the Ghurka unit, a troop of Nepalese soldiers noted for their loyalty and bravery in battle. (Indian Army Chief of Staff Field Marshall Sam Manekshaw once said, “If a man says he is not afraid of dying, he is either lying or is a Gurkha.”) Despite the leather accessories’ age, the pieces were still in amazing shape — the texture was supple, the quality impeccable. Hodgson lost the auction, but struck up a friendship with the man who won, and convinced him to share the tanning formula of the Ghurka leather. He took that knowledge back with him to the States, and a brand was born.

The first leather rucksack Hodgson made was in 1975, and it’s been passed down from generation to generation, and is now in the hands of his granddaughter, who still carries it every day of the week. And that’s the mark of a Ghurka piece — sturdy construction, rugged longevity, and classic styling — still good after decades of use. As creative director Walk Macwilliam says, “What a Ghurka bag looks like after 20 years versus what another piece of luggage looks like… That’s the Ghurka story.”

Check the video below to learn more about the great American brand, then shop our Ghurka sale on Gilt >

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