The Kipling brand has been around since 1987 and is best known for its crinkled nylon backpack and shoulder bags with the monkey. But in recent years there has been a change in Kipling’s collection. There are now also trendy bags for sale that match clothing in the latest fashion. Made in leather or other materials and affordable too. But still with the monkey.
Kipling: the bag with the monkey
Kipling bags have been on the market for years and most people are familiar with them. The brand originally became known for its functional bags and backpacks made of crinkled nylon, but nowadays Kipling also has an extensive and varied range of bags for all kinds of purposes. In addition, other items have also been added to the range. What remained unchanged is the good quality and of course the trademark: the monkey.
The origins of the Kipling brand
In 1987, Kipling’s formula was devised in Antwerp and the company was founded by three enthusiastic creative Belgians, including Paul van de Velde and Xavier Kegels. When designing and developing their products, they felt that they had to meet certain values that are still the common thread: the bags had to be handy, functional, colorful, trendy and playful.
The playfulness is reflected in the choice of the name Kipling. The designers were inspired by the British writer Rudyard Kipling, who is best known for his work “The Jungle Book”. In it, the boy Mowgli is raised by wild animals, including an orangutan. This also inspired the choice of the monkey that Kipling uses as the company’s logo. Every Kipling bag comes with a key ring with a monkey made of furry plush, although in some collections the monkey is made of metal or plastic. The monkeys have different names per collection based on the names of Kipling’s employees and have become a collector’s item in their own right. As if with a wink, the monkey on each Kipling bag emphasizes the playfulness of the brand, which was one of the starting points of the creators when the company was founded.
Kipling in recent years: new strategy
In December last year, the Belgisch Nieuwsblad reported that Kipling can now be found in 64 countries with 215 of its own stores; It is estimated that 40 million people worldwide own a Kipling bag. The brand has 300 points of sale in the Netherlands, including its own store in Amsterdam, the Bijenkorf, several shoe stores and a partnership store in Utrecht. There is of course also the option of purchasing via various web shops. About five years ago, the company was not doing well. After developments in which it was taken over a number of times, Kipling was sold in 2004 to the American fashion company VF Capital, which also owns brands such as Eastpak and Lee. Officially, the brand is no longer Belgian, but it is still presented to the outside world as “the largest Belgian fashion brand worldwide”. The bags are also still designed and made in Belgium. The company subsequently made a comeback through a smart strategy, with an important principle being that the designs should emphasize the fashionable, hip aspect. Talented designers from outside were recruited for this purpose, after which the collection was expanded. The stores are also being renovated and the number of stores around the world is being expanded.
The collection includes eight so-called lines, with a division between casual and fashion . The first concerns continuous models, which are therefore not dependent on fashion trends in clothing. This concerns 120 different bags; This includes functional hand and shoulder bags as well as travel, sports and school bags. The bags that fall under fashion involve approximately 160 new models per season; these are made of leather (40%) or other materials. Their design is tailored to fashion trends in clothing. All bags are available in more colors. There are also other items for sale, such as toiletry bags, pencil cases and wallets. The monkeys can also be purchased separately.
Trendy with a wink
The result of the new approach in recent years is that Kipling has seen its turnover double in the last five years. And although the company is also suffering from the economic crisis, it is still growing. In addition to the well-known school, sports and travel bags made of nylon, the collection now also includes affordable, trendy handbags that follow fashion trends. Inspired by the idea that a woman can also find a trendy bag in the Kipling collection every season to go with her new trendy clothes. And just like the regular models, the fashionable bags also feature a monkey, because Kipling remains Kipling after all. Trendy with a wink.
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