Before Neverfull, There Exists the Gladstone

by Jonquil Dun

If you are in the medical profession, or a bag collector, you would know right away what a Gladstone bag is, and the sassiest of us would dive into luxury shops in order to find one because the pre-owned of this item is just as valuable as your trace of genealogy.

Its physical attributes are also enticing; a lightweight body with a large opening with plenty of room for your necessities. The millennial and Gen-Z generation may call it a different name so as to disassociate it from the trendsetter’s grim history, however, the Gladstone nomenclature still lives on; especially among the bag collectors around the world.

The first design came about in the 1800s in Britain by J. G. Beard who named it after Prime Minister William Gladstone and was later patented in 1854 by Cole Brothers. The functional features, large opening and sturdy base made this bag design a staple for nurses, doctors, lawyers, politicians, and businessmen; from the most affluent of men to the weariest of travelers and craftsmen; with styles evolving at the turn of every century.

Perhaps, the Gladstone is a living monument of our modern history. It has witnessed the worst and the best part. If it can talk, it would have told us how we endured the epoch of times. Imagine how many men would have carried one aboard the Titanic, or dragged along the middle of the fields amidst crossfires between the Allied and Axis forces to nurse the wounded, or sat on the side of a diplomat on the negotiating table.

Nowadays, as fashion and lifestyle evolve, so has the engineering of the Gladstone, and even the name. We call it a satchel, travel, or more specifically a doctor’s bag. Bag makers have adopted new designs to fit the current social atmosphere. Some styles are made of laminated canvasses instead of leather. Others eliminated the slender metal frame at the opening, while some made it smaller. Nevertheless, the functiona features and the ample space are still intact.

Whatever we call it nowadays, it is still one of the most highly-priced collector’s items coveted by bag aficionados anywhere in the world. You can buy a satchel from $1,000 to a whopping $180,000 from the giant brands; with manufacturing dates would goes back to as far as the mid-1900s. But one of the reasons why this bag design deserves a space in the closet is because of its utility. The versatile classic look that will never go out of style, is a plus. It’s the vintage, or let’s put it in a more apt way- the mother of the Neverfulls.

After knowing the back story of such a token of our history, you’d want to check one in the market. Online bag curators like had the most- quality and highly curated bags out there. Their quality is exceptional because each piece on their website is authenticated and meticulously checked. You will never regret owning that one bag you had your eyes on.

Fulfilling Destiny

For years, I have been trying hard to pursue a different career and took designing only as a temporary station never realizing that it was actually what I was destined for. I did not imagine myself working as a fashion designer for all my life but I ended up working from one design field to another because I enjoy learning and understanding the art and business of designing along the way. But when I come to think of it, how I became I designer was unexpected. And then my business mentor opened my eyes to the fact that I was an entrepreneur all along. After that long process, I have to accept now that this is my destiny.”

A self- taught artist, Iman’s prowess in the arts of illustration was observed by a classmate (from the Computer School) whose aunt is a fashion designer and owns a fashion house in New York. Initially hired as an illustrator, the company saw her potentials in fashion designing, so she was trained to become a fashion designer and with the help of books, actual workshop and mentorship, Iman was able to grasp the business and art of fashion in no time.

“I was of fond drawing/sketching since I was a kid, although I never had a formal training but I found the job easy. I enjoyed the learning process the most. For me designing is not just an art, its also science. Actually, it involves a lot of analysis, like how material works for a certain structure/ silhouette, what mould would fit perfectly for a body type, balancing elements and textures, studying and understanding how the customer feels and their psychology; aside from the joy of seeing the development of a product, is what interests me more than drawing designs.”

Read about this inspiring story about resilience, hope and fulfilling one’s destiny, here

The Return of the Hanfu

Why mentioning the Hanfu revival is important in modest fashion revolution?

Because Hanfu is modest. It echoes that of the modest fashion revolution. The concept behind the style goes beyond cultural and historical significance. It is about modesty. The style resembles that of the Kaftan and abaya equivalent, and if worn with weimao and mili, the look is not far from burqa and niqab. This gives the modest fashion industry more alternative style and inspiration from other culture such as this.

Read full story here


Shiaam Abrahams love for the arts growing up had never left her heart even when she already made a succesful career as an I.T. Specialist and Business Analyst, certified internationally. She came back to her first love and now fully dedicating herself to become a modest fashion brand called Modesty On Blvd that will introduce African fashion to the world.

Read full:

Fatima; Fashionista Nurse from Zamboanga

photo by Fatima

A nurse by profession, this Zamboanga (Philippines) native is taking baby steps into fulfilling her love of fashion since she was 5 years old.

Fatima Zyra Mannan is a modest fashion enthusiast. She owns a clothing shop called Urban Modesty Ph which sells modern but modest dresses online. She vowed that she would fulfil her dreams to become a fashion designer one day and is on the way to start studying fashion design in Indonesia once the pandemic restrictions eases.

She admits that she felt blessed having to witness the change of attitude of the fashion world towards modest fashion. It allows modest women to have more variety of styles to wear and wearing modest outfits in public is becoming common and fashionable thing compared to the decade that past where modesty, especially hijab, was frowned upon.

Fatima shows off her brands’ fashionable dresses on social media to encourage girls to have more courage to wear hijab and modern style while staying modest.

She is inclined to fashion influencers like Neelofa, Vivy Yusof, Sharifahrose as among some of her favorites. The girlish styles, daily casuals look is a style that she is more drawn into.

She hopes that the local brands and designers will slowly adapt to the modest fashion movement elsewhere.

“Local brands have at least made the effort to add up modest clothings in their monthly collection but I still can say not all, but few. And smalls steps like that in a Christian- dominated country helps.. love how open minded this local brands especially the designers. I am yearning for more in the coming years”

The success and growing acceptance of modest fashion would not have been possible if not because of influencers like Fatima. Their courageous efforts and diligence despite being criticized by conservatives from their own had made it easy for majority of modest women everywhere freedom to embrace their true identity.