Altrincham based designer, Mat Booth, is passionate about combining British materials and manufacturing excellence with innovative design.
Mat recently launched his luggage brand, Both Barrels, with a collection that includes a holdall, backpack, washbag, two sizes of laptop case, travel wallet and a credit card holder. His designs reflect an understated British stylistic tradition with a contemporary twist. The products combine a traditional Yorkshire wool exterior with an internal water-resistant laminate membrane, a ballistic nylon base panel to protect against wet floors and a vivid purple interior lining.
Mat Booth of Both Barrels
As a keen champion of British industry, Mat works hard to ensure that as many as possible of the materials used in the construction of the bags are British. There is a fascinating supply chain map on the Both Barrels website showing where everything happens - from concept and design on his kitchen table to the stitching process in Cumbria - and where his materials originate. Only the buckles, leather trims and zips have been sourced elsewhere (Italy, Belgium & Japan).
Mat’s evangelical passion for good design and its importance to the economy has led him to become involved with the STEM initiative, a national campaign to promote careers in design, technology and manufacturing. Mat has mentored sixth formers at Blessed Thomas Holford Catholic College and Wellington School in Altrincham, spreading the message that success is a long road and that it is not possible to ‘start at the end’ whatever the X Factor may suggest!
The name ‘Both Barrels’ reflects its founder’s work ethic and 'no half measures' approach to business. Mat gained a degree in Product Design at the University of Huddersfield and went to work for luggage brand, Antler. After spending a further decade in the sportswear industry, Mat set up his own design consultancy. Somehow, he still finds time to work as a consultant as well as developing Both Barrels. He doesn’t pretend that the process is easy and is happy to admit that his house in Altrincham is piled high with stock and materials and that 'entrepreneurs have beans on toast more often than they would like!’. He is also adamant that he wouldn’t have it any other way.
The Sybarite Collection
Mat is fast becoming something of a local industry guru. He has recently been invited by the Make It British organisation to speak at Manchester’s Fashion Institute regarding design, development and UK Manufacture. After attending an IP Workshop at Manchester’s iconic Central Library, he has been invited to speak at summer events regarding entrepreneurship, the challenges of UK Manufacture and design thinking through business development. Both Barrels products are currently show cased at Central Library and can be found on Level 2, in the Business Library and IP Centre.
Altrincham is a great place to be an entrepreneur, Mat points to the fact that the local economy includes so many start-ups and creative businesses. Currently Both Barrels bags are only available online via the company website which was built by another recent addition to the Altrincham scene, digital marketing agency, JAW Digital. With JAW’s help, awareness of the Both Barrels range is developing both nationally and internationally. GQ magazine recently included a feature on the brand and interest is growing in the Japanese and European markets.
Innovation and experimentation are key to Mat’s success and he is always developing new ideas. He recently re-appropriated fabrics originally used in military uniforms for the Jordanian Royal Airforce and Danish army and, pleased with the idea of repurposing the fabric, has used it to produce the limited-edition Stealth range. Both Barrels is currently researching the potential of weaving a reflective yarn which would give his bags high visibility, allowing a potential extension into cycling accessories. True to his commitment to mixing contemporary with traditional, Mat is working on this 21st century yarn with a mill in Guisley, near Leeds that has been active since 1837. A combination of historic process and present day thinking all applied to future products and the direction of the brand.
The Stealth Collection