Espy on Etsy: Interview with Chris van Veghel

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Minimal Rucksack Bag by chrisvanveghel, all photos courtesy of Etsy

Chris van Veghel is a bag and accessory designer in Amsterdam who utilizes raw materials to craft clean and simplistic pieces. Her rucksacks and totes are classic with their hard-wearing materials, such as raw leather and canvas. Still, they deliver a modern aesthetic through their shape, sustainability and, in the case of the canvas pop-up bag, adjustability.

Check out more Espy on Etsy posts here and read below for my interview with the artist…

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Knapsack Canvas ‘Pop-up’ Bag by chrisvanveghel

Can you tell us a little about who you are and what you do?
My name is Chris van Veghel. I live in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.
I have a boyfriend John. He is a musician. We have a daughter called Hannah.

How did you initially become interested and involved in the accessory-making business?
When I was young, my father was a tailor. I loved all the fabrics he worked with. They were just there for me to admire, but when I grew up, I started collecting them myself. I started making one of-a-kind bags to keep track of all these inspirational fabrics and be creative with them. What I created was inspired by the potential of the material itself.

What people, places or things inspire your designs?
People: my family, Lady Birley as captured by photographer Valerie Finnes, Ruth van Beek, Wes Anderson.
Places: My studio in the morning, museums, Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Barcelona.
Things: buildings, furniture, books I read, junk.

How would you describe your designs using only three words?
Simple, slow, sustainable.

When making your accessories, what is your favorite material to work with and why?
Heavy canvas, leather, wool, wood. Because of how they feel, smell, look and combine with each other.

Your bags seem to be made with the intent to get better with age, why is sustainability and use of raw materials important to you?
Having something for a long time is about connecting and bonding. This only makes sense with things that have a lasting quality.

Or as Vivienne Westwood puts it: “Buy less, choose well and make it last. I really do think that people should exercise choice and not just consume without thought—sucking up stuff all the time, one thing after another.”

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Canvas Bags by chrisvanveghel

What is the bag-making process like for you?
I love the process of making the bags for my customers. It’s meditative!

Please tell us more about your line for Koda Amsterdam designed with De Ploeg fabrics.
Koda Amsterdam is about re-use, cut waste. Products are made with leftover materials, for example: fabric cutting leftovers of De Ploeg. This idea is very inspiring! The products I made for them are inspired on my chrisvanveghel label. The Briket I made for Koda Amsterdam is based on the front and bottom of my popup bag.

Who are some of your favorite designers or brands of the moment?
Julia Björkeheim, Maison Martin Margiela, Mina Perhonen, Dries van Noten, Peter Jensen, Celine.

Do you have any new or exciting projects underway that you’d like to tell readers about?
A new design for Koda Amsterdam. I’m working on something very nice at the moment for this coming fall. I’ll keep you posted on that one.

Check out Crisvanveghel’s bags and accessories on Etsy and let me know your favorites.

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