Eco Spotlight: Millican

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Our battered suitcases were piled on the sidewalk again; we had longer ways to go. But no matter, the road is life”  Jack Kerouac wrote in one of the most inspiring books of all times, “On the Road”.

It was the beginning of the 50s: a time of changes, when the clash between the priggish high society and the Beat generation led to cultural and social revolutions that permanently transformed the entire world. The mainstream era of tea parties and Cotillion was, to the new generation, emptier than ever. Young people wanted to feel free: free to travel, to get “on the road” and figure out who they were, what was out there and most of all how to live their life. They wanted to be free to live the Original Life.
Although Kerouac’s journey became a source of inspiration for many adventurers, he definitely wasn’t the first one to be able to boast such a life-changing experience.

Millican Dalton was a real “Professor of Adventure” in the early 1900s, driven by his passion for nature and authentic life, he moved from London to the cold caves of the Lake District, in the North of England, to spend his days with the purest purpose of living, and not just surviving. He grabbed life by the horns, he decided how and where he wanted to live and he dwelled there until his death, enjoying the outdoors, hand-making his own clothes and bags, and living mainly off philosophy and storytelling. His choices were not only a great influence on travellers of every age, but also on a lot of people who believe in their dreams and would never give up on them.

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Millican Dalton at the Lake District

People like Nicky and Jorrit, two British backpackers who spent part of their youth between remote mountains in Ecuador and breathtaking landscapes in Asia and Australia. Inspired by their travels, by Dalton himself and by the valuable lessons learnt by being immersed in such different environments and cultures, they decided to drift away from the stress and pressure of their lives and jump in a new business based in Lake District. In 2008 Millican was born, a company that offers accessories for adventurers such as bags, rucksacks and even moleskins, with the purpose of giving people the inspiration to live their own Original Life. “We love bags, we always have. We believe that as you venture out with your bag, it becomes a true friend, sharing the journey, experiences and memories with you along the way,” Nicky says. “We‘d like to believe that Millican can inspire people to lead an Original Life too – to follow their dreams and passions and create their own self-made freedom. This way, each person will make a difference in making the world a better place to live and play. Every original life creates another, and that’s an empowering thought.“

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Millican’s founders Nicky & Jorrit

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Harry, the Gladstone bag

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Christopher the Camera bag

“Making a difference” is one of the main ideas at the core of this company. Making conscious choices is not only a prerogative of life; in modern times more people every day realize how important it is to consider ethics and sustainability when constructing a business. Thus, all Millican items are created with two notions in mind: functionality and style. “Use Less, Be More” is their philosophy: “Focusing only on what you need – materially and emotionally – is an enlightening thing,” Jorrit explains. “It’s not just a sustainable way of living, but a way of eliminating confusion and indecision, empowering change in your life.” MIllican accessories are the product of the encounter of progress and tradition: old-fashioned materials like cotton and leather become modern and sustainable when they meet recycled polyester and local Herdwick wool, or when they undergo processes such as vegetable tanning. The result is a timeless, iconic and high quality item that will last you forever. An accessory that will accompany you through all your journeys, whether you’re only catching a train or pursuing your dream of freedom.

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Dave the Rucksack

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Mark The Field Bag

Along with the originals, inspired by vintage classics such as the Messenger bag, Millican is now introducing a new line – the Maverick. Designed with particular attention to innovative sustainable techniques, all the bags from this collection are constructed with a few panels of 57% recycled Bionic x Millican Canvas, which is not only stronger than regular cotton, but also highly weatherproof. “The Maverick design concept minimises both production waste and the number of seams on each bag, therefore maximising strength and longevity,” Jorrit says. “It’s the latest in sustainable fabric innovation. We want our customers to recognise that sustainable choices don’t hold us back. They do the opposite, in fact.“

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From the new Maverick line

Having such a clear idea of the world is helpful when you’re the head of a business, and a sustainable business in particular, but Jorrit doesn’t hide the fact that he must always face challenges along the way. Nevertheless, challenges come with life, but so do choices and chances. They give us the possibility to decide what our own original life should be, so that we can then look back to our past days with no regrets, conscious of all the opportunities we’ve taken and the experiences we’ve had. And in that moment we’ll be glad to have possessed for so long something that has become a symbol of all the adventures we went through; something we can pass on to our grandchildren in front of a fireplace. Then, our beloved Millican bag soaked with memories will tell stories of passion, love and life.

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Matt the Moleskine cover

Written by: Alice Demurtas

Photo Sources: courtesy of Sophie @ Home of Millican. Visit the website & shop