ALL ABOUT LOES VRIJ

ALL ABOUT LOES VRIJ

 A Loes Vrij bag can be recognized by its  clean lines, a rebel spirit and devil
ears. Unique luxury is integrated into every detail, like special lipstick holders
inside the bags. One cosy winter morning in Amsterdam, we sat down with
high-end bag designer Loes Vrij at a café across the street from her
Berenstraat shop to learn more about her and her designs.

 

HER STORY

Loes started her career as a lawyer. She first worked for a lawfirm in Amsterdam
and after a few years she settled as an independent  lawyer which she continued
doing for 25 years. As a lawyer, she did not find much time for her more creative
side. She made a painting every now and then, but not much more was done.

As a child, Loes was always very creative and she remembers drawing and painting
a lot. She felt  especially attracted to colours. When growing up she discovered
textiles and tailoring; she loved making her own clothes and did that all the way
through high school.  

Ten years ago, Loes realized she missed the creative world and her own creative
side and wanted to do something about it. She started taking parttime classes next
 to her work at the Vogue Academy in Amsterdam. Here, she rediscovered her
creative side and mind. She remembered how much she loved this and how good it
made her feel. Soon after she started a fashion activity together with a friend –
more for fun than anything else – namely teaching colour theory and mood board
making .  Slowly she spent more and more time doing fashion and creative-related
things.

After having finished the Vogue academy, she started designing a clothing line, but
soon noticed  it was too elaborate and technical for a “one woman”startup.. She
then started to work with leather and decided to set up a handbag label. She loves
the “3 D” aspect of making a bag and a big advantage compared to apparel is that
bags do not need to have a specific fit. She believes it’s important to make a
beautiful product that has a day to day practicallity as well. Above all Loes wanted
to make something original, something that didn’t exist yet. Not an easy task  since
nowadays almost everything has already been designed.

HER FIRST BAG

The first bag Loes made in 2012 was named the Glorious Gun, wallet and bag in
one. Chiara Ferragni of the Blonde Salad actually loved it. Loes told us the story
how they met in Paris during fashion week: Loes was in Paris where she attended
her first tradeshow and was dining out in the same restaurant as Chiara Ferragni
was. Loes’  assistants who were present too spotted her, (meanwhile Loes had no
idea who she was). The girls did not waste any time and they reached out to Chiara
Ferragni and showed her the Glorious Gun bag. She loved it and posted multiple
foto’s and a little movie on her blog of her with the bag on Place Vendome

 

HER CREATIVE PROCESS 

The entire production process is a timeconsuming thing; to create something new it
takes time to reflect, to improve, to tryout, and new designs don’t just roll out of her
head Loes said. Besides that, she has a business and a store to run which take
much time also. This makes that it is sometimes hard for her to find the time to
create new products.

She is most inspired by the materials themselves. She starts folding leather and
creating shapes. When a new model takes shape, the next step is that she makes a
prototype    out of a wool felt. Then a tryout period starte: She carries  the new
model around for weeks, tries it out and adjusts it until it’s perfect. Then this proto
together with a description of the detailing she sends it to her  manufacturer in Italy
 Sometimes this process repeats after receipt of the first prototype from Italy; Loes
only brings a bag to the market that she approves of for 100%.

HER CUSTOMER

Women (and men) -young and old - who buy LOES VRIJ bags are well aware of
what is going around in the world of luxury and luxury bags . Her clients are the
ones that appreciate high quality products that stand out for their originality and
cannot be found in every store. . They can be described as trendsetters and not
trend followers.

HER FUTURE PLANS 

Loes loves to create new models and to extend the business to other products too,
like jewelry, sunglasses and shoes. Also she wants to focuss more on
collaborations with other designers – in or outside the fashionworld - like she had
with Vlisco and Ronald van der Kemp. She would love to go over the top with her
designs – being more extravagant and less commercial.  herefore her dream is to
have a bigger team around her that can take care of the different aspects of running
a fashionlabel so that she can focuss more on the creative side and make bigger
steps.