Janet Gyenes

New U.K. brand Zella Ash elevates the utilitarian backpack with luxe leather

Anyone who’s ever done a mad dash through an airport—tote bag slipping off your shoulder as you weave between bewildered travellers while wildly scanning for your gate number—has also silently vowed: never again.

Wearing a backpack when travelling lets you roam a little less encumbered, freeing up your hands for the essential passport and smartphone. Such sturdy pack-it-all-in gear doesn’t have to be made of masculine canvas and riddled with clunky zippers. Stylish case in point: the leather backpack from new U.K. brand, Zella Ash. Hands-free meets luxury. The slim straps keep the compact backpack in place, while easy-access outer pockets are ideal for stashing items such as the de rigueur eye mask and earbuds. Gold-toned metal hardware complements the top-quality leather, effectively transforming utilitarian to elegant.  

The craftsmanship should be meticulous  —Florence Ashman


Zella Ash was founded in 2015 by Florence Ashman, who named her Manchester-based company after her daughter, Gizella. All the leather used in the line of backpacks, wallets, cross-body bags, footwear and more has been handpicked by Ashman. A former nurse, she developed her exacting standards when researching suppliers in Italy, Portugal and India and studying their production processes. Says Ashman, “The craftsmanship should be meticulous.” 

Janes Gynese

Zella Ash