The Recollection Archives – 2003: Reproduction

Our new collection ‘Recollection’ is a celebration of 20 years of reducing waste in a colourful way: 20 years of SUSAN BIJL. In the months to come, we’ll be looking back at milestones that mark important events and developments during those years. We take you back to 2003.

After making 200 bags by herself on popular demand by family and friends, Susan decided around 2002 that it was time to find a place where they could reproduce her simple but detailed shopping bags.

Crafting the bags was taking up most of her daytime. To be honest, she didn’t have a very technical background in sewing and therefore spent many hours of frustration and swearing behind the sewing machine. She really wanted to move on to new projects but felt she had to end this ‘bag project’ in a worthy way.

Since ripstop nylon was mostly being produced in Asia, it seemed like a good choice to look for a bag manufacturer in China. At first, they suggested many small changes (in their eyes: improvements) for Susan’s design, such as a small inside pocket, stitches on the handles. But as persistent as Susan is when it comes to her designs, she didn’t want to hear of any adjustments. With a strong sense of colour, Susan also has quite a determined mind when creating combinations.

With this first production, she wanted to create many different colour combinations as she had done making the bags by herself for her relatives. This led to the fact that she had to order more than 13.000 pieces in the first production. Without any so-called pre-sales or promotion, she decided to take the leap. In May 2003 the first official collection of The New Shopping Bag was presented. 14 colours, 41 combinations!

Top photo: Jan Bijl – model: Eline
Left photo: Ruud Baan – styling: Isis Vaandrager – model: Barbara