Radley London 1998

Radley Bags 1998

Radley Bags 1998 – Metro, Central and Carnival.

As our fans know, RadleyCollector love to bring you original and unique guides about Radley-London.

Today we have a special article for you. We are going back through Radley’s history and looking at the FIRST ever collection released. This collection was released in Autumn/Winter 1998.

Radley London 1998

Radley the brand was created in 1998, but the company was not registered as a separate entity until 2002. There are many guides and history blogs about Radley out there that state different to this but we can confirm this range was from 1998 and this was the year the brand Radley started.

As you can see from the Logo, this is very different branding to what we all know as Radley today.  Also as you look at the collections below, there colours are very dark and not the bright unique designs we’re used to.  Over the next few years, colour started to creep in through linings, then in small ways through wallet and purse designs, then under handbag straps and then fully fledged onto the outside of bags.

So lets have a look at some of the Radley bags from 1998.

( you can click the images to enlarge)

radley London 1998 metro

As you can see the bags are very simple but the quality of the bags is obvious.  They do look very masculine also compared to the quirky ranges we get these days, but the quality of the bags must have spoke volumes, as that is what made it the popular Brand it is today.


Look at the history in this photo above! Can you see the old Nokia phone poking outside the work bag (a Nokia 3110 for those interested)!  These bags were practical and we are betting they stood the test of time.  The leather quality is apparent.

Radley Border is shown below.  Although back in 1998, Border did not have its name at this point. It was actually part of the CENTRAL RANGE (styles 50700 to 50707) and employees named it border so they could easily identify it.  The other two ranges were called CARNIVAL (styles 977 – 90009) and METRO (Styles 50101 – 50272). Radley have currently revamped Border and re released it for 2013 (see guide here)


Now it wasn’t all dark colours for these collections.  We do see some colour as you can see below along with some key Radley shapes and details appearing on the handles and textures on some of the bags.

Radley London Bags 1998

The red and mustard colour above is still a favourite for colours on Radley bags these days.

Radley Bags from 1998

You can see a close up of the texture on the below bags.

1998 Radley handbags

The sharp edges on these bags was very in trend for 1998. You can see how through the years Radley was always thinking of its customers and needs of the women using these handbags.

Radley Handbags 1998

The handles on the two bags below seem to be the start of Radley getting more creative with the bag designs.

Radley Handbags from 1998

Radley London Handbags from 1998

We love the distinctive shapes in these ranges.

You can see from the photos of the brown bags how soft the leather was.

Radley London Handbags from 1998

Radley 1998 Purses and small leather accessories

(Click the images to enlarge)

You can see how Radley started to bring colour into their ranges on the inside of the purses below.

Radley 1998 purses


Very different to today’s colourful ranges.

Radley purse 1989

Radley Collectors Conclusion:

We are very thankful to Radley for all their help with this article. Radley were very kind enough to share these catalog pictures so we could share the first Radley ranges with fans and collectors.

Back in 1998, Radley didn’t have their own website or own stores so all these bags and purses were sold through independent shops around the U.K.  Initially the first ranges were sold in shops that stocked Hidesign because Lowell Harder already had a relationship with these suppliers.

Its great to bring you part of Radley’s history, as images and details about these classic products were so hard to find…Until now !

We hope you have enjoyed this look at Radley London in 1998.


1 Comment
  • Debra Meakin
    Posted at 14:58h, 11 February Reply

    Hi I have a Radley bag and have been told it’s quite old and rare not sure if it is it’s a purple brown colour with woven design on the front of a bird in a tree with embroidered flowers on can anyone help please

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