A new pathway to genuine luxury, the new wave of Dutch design

The debut of luxury label Maeden – an homage to Dutch design, local craftsmanship, and true luxury at its essence.

This spring sees the highly anticipated launch of Maeden. Not just any bag brand, but a Dutch luxury label that has been years in the making. Maeden’s founder, Christian Heikoop, gave The Netherlands’ most visionary designers from different fields – from jewelry to textile, contemporary art, and fashion – the opportunity to create the highest standard leather bag. A designer bag slash ‘contemporary classic’ to be worn and enjoyed for generations to come. Simultaneously maintaining and passing on Dutch craftsmanship with local artisans and premium leather, Maeden stimulates innovation at its finest.

As an alumnus of Dutch Design Academy Eindhoven, Maeden’s creative director Christian Heikoop is a proponent of Dutch design. Yet after graduating and working in the design industry for some time, he discovered something was missing. Heikoop: ‘I vividly remember visiting one of the last remaining leather ateliers and tanneries here in The Netherlands. We’re a real heritage country when it comes to quality leather, but sadly that’s slowly disappearing. Yet there’s tremendous potential here!’ A potential that Heikoop was adamant to fulfill: ‘I love the industry, both design and raftsmanship. I strongly feel that by pairing the two you can reach true innovation by challenging and learning from one another.’ That’s why, then and there, he decided to close a gap: to connect illustrious Dutch designers to local craftsmen and makers, who have been working in the leather business for generations.

In doing so he dreamed up a luxury accessories brand for the contemporary woman: ‘Talking to my friends, I found there’s quite a number of people who don’t identify with the big luxury brands and how they position themselves. With Maeden we’re in between high street and traditional luxury. Offering a solidly made, sustainable product that goes against anything fast fashion. Something we can be proud of here in The Netherlands and in the fashion industry at large.’ With three powerful ingredients – design, craft and production, all in-house and local from the lowlands to close to home in Italy – Maeden was established.

Maeden debuts its first collection of designer bags, true objet d’arts, with four designers who each excel in their own field: Julia Bocanet (jewelry), David Laport (fashion), Tijmen Smeulders (product design) and Mae Engelgeer (graphic and textile). More household names will be revealed soon. It’s intentional that none of these creatives are traditional bag designers. This is precisely why they are able to offer a fresh and much welcomed take on shape and material, crafts and innovation. It’s Maeden’s aim to elevate the exciting new wave of promising Dutch design.

To Maeden the epitome of luxury is pure craftsmanship, performed with full traceability and transparency. Every single Maeden bag can be traced back to the tiniest detail, including the leather that is thoughtfully used in the process. All leather is made of the highest quality Dutch hides, a by-product of the dairy industry and waste if not used. The finish of the leather is left as natural as possible, to show off the beautifully delicate grain and uniform texture. A unique quality of Maeden bags: buttery soft, supple leather specially crafted for Maeden, deep custom colors and sculptural shapes. They may look simple at first glance, but the bag designs are technically complex and incredibly detailed. In one word: pure, and therewith in line with Maeden’s definition of genuine luxury.

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