Kiss us, we're Irish! Okay, we're not, but our green gorillas sure are. Did you know that the color originally associated with St. Patrick wasn't green, but blue? In fact, the shade of blue is even called "St. Patrick's blue". Green, blue or rainbow-colored, OPTIONS! wishes a happy St. Patrick's Day to all our friends from the Emerald Isle!
Gorilla eraser, €9.95
Are ya feeling tough, punk? Well, you might feel a little bit tougher with these bad-boy (and girl) necklaces. Tiny skulls and guns say: "Don't mess with me! At least until I've had my coffee."
Skull necklace, €44.95
Gun necklace, €54.95
OPTIONS! recently visited Klaartje de Hartog's studio in Amsterdam's up-and-coming Indische Buurt. The founder and designer of Keecie, Klaartje creates beautifully simple bags and wallets made with incredible care and attention to detail. Read on for our interview where we discuss bags, business, and the surprise inside every Keecie purse!
How did Keecie get started?
I started together with my friend, Caroline Borger, we both worked at another shop. For Queen’s Day, we decided to make our own bags, and we didn’t have much money, so we took leather from old furniture in the street – at night I was cycling around looking for garbage furniture. We also did that with secondhand jackets, and we made bags out of them. On Queen’s Day almost everything was sold. So we thought: let’s start a business together.
Who made your very first bag?
I cut it, and Caroline sewed it. It’s a screenprint inside. I made the design for the print, and my partner designed the bag.
Why the screenprinting?
It was because we don’t like to use lining, and I think the leather on the inside looks very good already. It all started with the original bag with the idea to have a living room on the inside of the bag.
What other rules do you have for the design of Keecie bags?
The bag only has one color in it, and no lining, and it’s very simple shapes. Of course there are the animal bags, but with the other bags, it’s all very practical. They're also all made from nice leather that becomes nicer the more you use it.
Who makes your bags now?
If I hadn’t found the family that makes my bags in Poland, I wouldn’t know what I would do. I’d still be making it myself! We used to have production in Holland, but it was through a middleman, and we worked with people who made it in their home. So, sometimes it was very good, and the other times, it was very bad. Because the bags are such simple shapes, the stitching must be very nice.
Do you like being an entrpreneur?
I really like to work for myself, designing things I like. But I have not worked that much for a boss. Sometimes I think of course I think I want to do something completely different, but I always want to do it in design.
What’s been your biggest challenge?
I think it’s the whole administration thing. Of course, running a business, you’ve been educated as a designer, but now all of a sudden you have to decide how much leather you buy, how many bags you will produce, or which fair you will go to. that’s the challenge - to run a business. Designing is only 10% of what I do.
What are you plans for the future?
Scandinavia is getting interesting right now, and I have lots of selling points in Germany too. I’m just going slowly all over Europe!
Keecie bags are stocked at OPTIONS!
Time to get carried away with a new haul of Herschel bags! Vintage details and classic styling add up to a very hip way to tote your things.
We think you'll agree that the new bird print backpack from the Bad Hills collection (above) might be the freshest way to start the spring.
Click through for the complete collection!
A detail of the Bad Hills bird bag. Love it, love it, love it.
Herschel Bad Hills backpack Price: €129.95
A classic, subdued backpack with black leather straps.
Black backpack Price: €144.95
Another option for fans of all things black and classic: a square black backpack from Herschel.
Black backpack Price: €84.95
A square blue backpack, the color of cornflowers and old denim.
Blue backpack Price: €84.95
Red paisley detailing brightens up the interior of the blue bag.
Anyone will give a wink for pink, we think! A dusky pink bag with leather accents will go equally well with a woolen coat as it will with a happy summer dress.
Pink backpack, Price: €89.95
And who are we to forget you world travelers? Whether you're flying first or economy, you'll always have class with this tough black canvas carry-on. Just don't let someone swipe it at baggage claim!
Rolling luggage Price: €199.95