If it can be said that the Italians make good suits, the English make good shoes, and the Scots make good knitwear, then it can be said that the Japanese make good blogs. Some of the best around, actually. I recently found this one about vintage Ghurka bags made prior to 2004, when the brand’s founder Marley Hodgson sold the company. I suspect it’s maintained by a hobbyist, not Ghurka themselves (or so I hope). Google Translate isn’t very good at processing Japanese, but from what I can tell, the site has all the hallmarks of an enthusiast writing: the speculation of when and where things were made, the nostalgia over the “early days,” and the non-professional judgment of construction techniques. All stuff that speaks to my heart, really.
The collection is simply awesome. There’s a range of popular models, such as the Expediter attaché and Express weekender (the second model Marley Hodgson ever designed, but the first he commercially offered), as well as some old paraphernalia and vintage catalogs. The best bit, however, might be the set of Examiner briefcases, of which our Japanese friend seems to have collected every variant. Check, for example, his documentation of details nobody else would have ever noticed, such as the differences in the brass studs used on the bottom of each these bags. I also love his eye for detail when he shoots those beautiful Talon zippers, and his sense for completeness when he lines up each product and shoots them as a set. It gives you the impression you’re looking at some serious anthropological research, and not just some guy with a crazy obsession for Ghurka. Normal people would call this unhealthy, and they’d be right, but it’s unhealthy behavior I can relate to.
You can still find vintage Ghurka pieces today on eBay and Etsy, as well as some Japanese trading sites (which I selfishly won’t reveal, sorry). Ghurka also sells vintage bags on their site, but at a higher price than what you’d pay if you did your own hunting. A bit cheaper is Ghurka’s mainline stuff made from “vintage army twill,” “vintage chestnut leather,” and “vintage black leather,” which I’ve heard are made to the same specs as the old line (though, I haven’t verified this firsthand). The vintage army twill collection was just put on sale last week. If I didn’t need to save up for a move in two months, I would have easily snatched up this Examiner.