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Created in Holland Q&A with Vlieger & Vandam

The Rotterdam duo Vlieger & Vandam has worked together since 2000. Vlieger studied graphic design at the Royal Academy of Art in The Hague; Van Dam, architectural design at the AKI Academy of Visual Arts & Design in Enschede. They joined forces and in 2002 their fashion accessories label launched a series of bags that appeared to contain weapons.

By Editor Design.nl / 26-10-2007

The Rotterdam duo has worked together since 2000. Vlieger studied graphic design at the Royal Academy of Art in The Hague; Van Dam, architectural design at the AKI Academy of Visual Arts & Design in Enschede. They joined forces and in 2002 their fashion accessories label launched a series of bags that appeared to contain weapons.

How would you describe your work?
Carolien started as a graphic designer and I worked at an architectural office. Our first projects were graphic design, then came the Guardian Angel bag (see picture). We're interested in graphic and product design, but we also get our inspiration from architecture, metropolitan landscapes, strange news items and the beautiful and ugly sides of urban life.

Why did you decide to take part in 100% Design Japan?
The first series of Guardian Angel bags were shown in a gallery in Amsterdam in 2002. They were picked up by a gallery in Tokyo and sold over there and since then we've stayed in touch with that gallery who now promotes our work. But we wanted to take the next step and set up a stable distribution system in Japan. We've sold a few bags already, but there's a lot of interest from Japan and 100% Design Japan seemed a good opportunity to meet people and show our work.

What do you hope to get from the event?
We've never been to Japan before, so we're very excited. We hope we'll get to meet people from the famous shops such as Cibone. We've been to quite a few fairs over the years and we know that you can't expect hundreds of people to flock to see you, we have to be realistic! But the Japanese market is very exciting and we look to them for fashion inspiration. As a fashion designer, if you manage to make a name for yourself in Japan then that's a big thing.

What are your plans for the future?
Right now we're planning a winter season hat collection which we are going to show in Paris next year. We're also really interested in starting a shoe collection, that's something we want to discuss with our distributor in Japan. We're selling in around 50 stores worldwide at the moment in the US, Australia, Taiwan and Europe. And also online. The internet has been very important to us. We were so surprised by the amount of coverage the Guardian Angels bags received. We had a few small articles published in magazines and newspapers, but then people started writing about them in blogs and on websites. That's how the words spread and soon we were getting thousands of hits a day on our website. Without the internet I think we'd be doing something very different right now!

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