Duchess Catherine has some competition. Thanks to the “Alexa” bag, named after British television personality Alexa Chung, the British luxury brand Mulberry has become the world’s best-performing fashion retail stock. The 40-year-old heritage leather goods and apparel manufacturer has seen its stock go up by 526 percent in the past 12 months, according to Bloomberg. Valued at approximately $250 million last year, the house is now worth over $1.5 billion, with the Alexa bag spurring growth in England and internationally.
Creative director Emma Hill named the leather schoolboy satchel with belt-buckle detailing after Alexa Chung, who wears the bag in various sizes. In 2009, she was photographed carrying a vintage men’s messenger briefcase as a handbag, which is said to be the inspiration for her namesake purse at Mulberry. The bag comes in various sizes and colors and carries a starting retail price of $900 for the smallest version.
The Daily Mail reports that demand for the Alexa bag,which takes five hours to make by hand, has added 60 extra manufacturing jobs at the company’s factory in England in the past year. The paper estimates that 30 percent of the company’s profits can be attributed to the design.
The brand, founded by Roger Saul in 1971, was an ailing British leather goods company until Singaporean businesswoman Christina Ong took the brand over ten years ago, investing $10 million in the company.