Connolly remains one of the most original names in luxury sportswear

    There aren’t many British brands with a heritage like Connolly’s. The brand founded 143 years ago, in 1878, started as a small family business of saddlers and blacksmiths and then grew together with the automotive industry to become a name known worldwide for its luxury leather interiors.

    Then, in 1995, Connolly entered a new phase with the launch of his first clothing collection, with which the brand has since become a symbol of British luxury. As creative director Isabel Ettedgui explains, Connolly’s approach to fashion is “focused and highly refined, to combine luxury fit and practicality. It vaguely takes its cue from classic sportswear, which emphasizes functionality, desirability and comfort.”

    Sporting Collection, 15 garments that, as they say, combine “our important history in the automotive sector and our modern design. [It’s a] small line of inspired garments designed for people committed to making, coming out and producing, creating and achieving results in their industry.”

    Given the brand’s connection to sophisticated elegance and automotive history, it makes sense that one of its most celebrated special projects of late has been a collaborative capsule with No Time to Die, the latest James Bond film. In the film, two Connolly garments are featured along with the leather interior of the Aston Martin DB5; the brand also launched a capsule of 12 garments in honor of the collaboration. And that’s not all. As he tells us, the brand is also “planning to launch a limited series to celebrate James Bond’s 60th anniversary.


    Leather is timeless, as old as history. It is part of the fabric of society. Through the Millenia it has supported, clad and protected us bringing longevity and character to every age. Connolly Leather, founded in 1878, is quintessentially British. The distinctive personality of Connolly hide, shaped alongside the giants of the motoring industry, is evocative of a timeless era of classic motoring and design…..some things never change.


    In 1878, two brothers, John Joseph and Samuel Frederick Connolly started one of the first while-you-wait shoe repair shops in London’s Euston Road They progressed to repairing hamess and saddlery, began to buy and finish leather on their own and then supplied hood-makers and coach builders. When the latter started to make the bodies for the new fangled contraption, the motor car, and the motor industry was born, the Connolly brothers were there from the outset. Samuel Frederick was a pioneer motorist and reputedly, the only man who could get Herbert Austin and William Morris to sit at the same table.

    Connolly Leather was on the first Rolls Royce, Bentley, Ferrari, Maserati, Aston Martin, Jaguar and Morgan to name but a few. Connolly leather remained the manufacturers’ standard upholstery material until Connolly Brothers retired from the mass original equipment market in the early 1990s.

    Samuel Frederick’s son, Frederick Ignatius, grew up alongside, and became friend and confidant to many of the great names of the industry. Sir William Lyons of SS and Jaguar, the Wilks’s of Rover, the Rootes brothers and Sir Patrick Hennessy of Ford were some of his acquaintances.

    During the 20th Century, Connolly leather covered the benches and seats of the Houses of Lords and Commons, the Cunard Liners Queen Elizabeth and Mary, the QE2, Concorde. The British Library. The Royal Festival Hall and the Dorchester and Ritz hotels.

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