During Dutch Design Week, e52 will be introducing you to the festival’s Hidden Gems. Nine special designers who we feel are the stand-outs of this edition. A different Hidden Gem will enjoy the limelight each day of DDW. Today: Jannissima’s handmade travel bags

It was when Design Academy Eindhoven visited her middle school in Leiden that everything fell into place. Even as a fifteen-year-old, Jannita van den Haak would design hair accessories, magazines for her classmates and costumes for the school theatre. A further education in the creative arts lay ahead; she just hadn’t found the right one. That was until she heard the DAE representative talk about persevering, working on concrete projects and a school that was open from early in the morning until late at night. The schoolgirl from Leiden was sold.

During her studies in Eindhoven, the theme of travelling came into the foreground. Travelling in style, to be more precise. In 2006 Van den Haak graduated with a luxury backpack for women for which she won the audience prize at the Dutch Design Awards.

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The challenge with designing travel bags is the technical aspect. A good backpack should distribute the weight properly. Van den Haak enjoys perfecting this part, but also has a great eye for stylish details, such as the plissés on the side of the bag.

During DDW she will be presenting her new collection of handmade bags called ‘Dots’. The leather is handcrafted, which means that Van den Haak chooses vegetable-tanned leather. The material is processed with bark and fruit instead of synthetic chromium-based products.

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For the dots, Van den Haak teamed up with Elementum, a sustainable fashion label from Eindhoven. Elementum’s Daniele Pais designed the dots and pressed them onto canvas using natural materials.

Van den Haak’s bags are sold internationally and have even been enjoying a place in Rossana Orlandi’s famous gallery in Milan since last year. Orlandi was very excited to see Van den Haak’s collection in Kazerne during DDW 2015 and immediately called the designer to arrange taking some of the bags back to the Italian fashion capital. Sometimes things just work out, don’t they? Well, Van den Haak’s success is nothing to do with luck. It’s all about hard work and, most of all, making the right strategic moves. Van den Haak travelled to Milan on multiple occasions to bring her collection to Orlandi’s attention.

As well as designing bags for her own label, Jannissima, Van den Haak collaborates with brands like Bugaboo to develop new products. Well-known for its popular pushchairs, the Dutch company recently launched a series of suitcases and bags which can be easily extended with a click system to offer greater capacity. Comfortable travelling with a touch of Jannissima.

Jannissima can be found on the 1st floor of Sectie C, Hall 8 – 20

The Nine Hidden Gems of DDW was made possible through the collaboration with Dutch Design Daily and DDW curator, Katja Lucas. Want to check out the Hidden Gems for yourself? Urban Exploring Tours and KOGA bikes will be organising a special bike tour every morning and afternoon where you will see the selected designers. For more information, click here.

Text: Renske Mehra