STYLE LDN visits the Williams F1 team HQ to meet former Williams Marketing Director Dominic Reilly, to discuss his emerging brand of men’s travel bags and small leather goods.
The world of Formula 1 is fast paced and jet-set and nobody knows this better than Dominic Reilly. Whilst travelling the world as part of the Williams F1 team, Reilly noticed a gap in the market for men’s travel bags that were both functional and beautiful. He felt forced to choose between tech-protective brands that weren’t particularly attractive, or fashion house labels which “weren’t really my style either,” as Reilly puts it.
In response to this he created the Dom Reilly brand, producing stunning leather bags of the highest quality: A large holdall in the softest of tumbled leathers, a briefcase with a laptop compartment padded in the same memory foam used to line an F1 cockpit… As he talks us through the technical details, I’m amazed by the amount of thought that has gone into every element (the bags are even pressure tested.) The little nods to the sport and Reilly’s professional background aren’t just a gimmick, everything has a purpose.
In a way this sums up the brand as a whole. These products have a strong, masculine simplicity… they don’t just combine functionality and beauty, they make functionality beautiful. As Reilly shows us around the private museum, featuring a collection of Williams F1 cars dating back to the 70s, I can’t help but get the same feeling from the cars themselves.
Unlike the Williams brand, however, Dom Reilly is rather less established, appearing at London Collections Men for the first time this season. This lack of history seems to be the cause of some self-consciousness for Reilly, albeit unnecessarily in my opinion. Although it is true that we often connect heritage with quality, it is also often connected with design stagnation. For me, the brand’s youth is one of it’s strongest points, with its consideration for modern day living and ‘the man’s man’ setting it apart from its dustier competitors. The brand’s quality speaks for itself.
Aside from the main Dom Reilly collection, the brand has partnered with the Financial Times, the prestigious Raffles Hotel in Singapore and, of course, Williams to create bespoke collections for each. In catering for every man, from engineer to executive, Dom Reilly shows a creativity and versatility that is exciting and full of promise. I look forward to seeing what the future holds.
Written by Francesca Bassenger.