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Kipling (brand)
Kipling (brand)

Kipling is a Belgian fashion brand founded in 1987 in Antwerp, Belgium. Kipling brand is part of VF Corporation since 2004. Their most famous collection is Basic,[1] recognizable from its crinkle nylon fabric and monkey key chain. Kipling sells handbags, backpacks, totes, luggage and accessories

Detailed history

Kipling was founded in 1987 in Antwerp, Belgium.

  • 1986: The original founders of Kipling decided to create a new bags company.
  • 1987: Kipling company was founded in Antwerp, Belgium.
  • 1987: The first Kipling bags were delivered in Belgium.
  • 1989: Kipling Netherlands founded.
  • 1992: Kipling basic was created.
  • 1993: Kipling first sold in Italy, USA and begins an international expansion.[2]
  • 1993-1999: Expansion of Kipling retail stores in Belgium and internationally
  • 2003: The first independent Kipling partnership store opens in Spain,thus launching a new sales channel
  • 2005: Acceleration of international expansion
  • 2005: New styles of bags
  • 2006: New brand positioning and new art direction. There was a campaign by photographer Serge Leblon. Kipling started advertising in fashion magazines in Europe.
  • 2007: New materials were introduced (leather, new fabric) and the new bag "Katie"
  • 2009: More than 215 Kipling stores operate worldwide in capitals like Paris, London, Hong Kong. First new concept store 'the House of Kipling' opens in Keyserlei 48, Antwerp, Belgium.,[3][4]
  • 2012: Kipling and eight artists, Sarah Illenberger, Rankin, Paul Graves, Alex Salinas, Javier Mariscal, Vincent Gapaillard, Li Wei and Prince Lauder collaborated on a bag "remix" project. Starting from Kipling's blue and red Classic bags, eight pieces of bag-art were shown.[5][6]


Kipling's name was inspired by Rudyard Kipling, the author of The Jungle Book. The original designers wanted a name that could be easy to pronounce.[7]

The monkey key-hanger is usually associated to Kipling brand. Every Kipling bag comes with a monkey key-hanger. Originally, there was only one type of monkey, which could be easily recognized by its shape and characteristic colored fur. Since Kipling has developed several collections representing several styles, the monkey evolved as well. Now each collection corresponds to a type of monkeys.

The "monkey" figure on the key-hanger is tailless, and perhaps would be better termed an "ape", however, the terms "monkey" and "ape" are sometimes used interchangeably in casual usage. The Kipling logo used on the Kipling website is a monkey with a tail, and so is a "monkey" by any definition.

The original furry monkeys from Kipling brand have a label with a name on it. The different names come from Kipling employees all over the world. Each name corresponds to a color.

VF Corporation

Kipling is part of the "sportswear" group of VF Corporation. In 2018 the total revenues of VF Corporation were approximately $13.8 billion.

Kipling brand employs around 220 people in sales and marketing worldwide plus several hundred more people in VF support organizations and factories. Retail sales in 2009 were approximately €350 million. The brand directly employs in sales, marketing and design along with people in VF's organizations and factories.

The company operates 215 stores and 450 corners and shop-in-shops and sells through 4,000 multi-brand stores and websites.

Richard Macey is the company's CEO.

The company has opened retail stores in over 200 locations, including Paris, London, Tokyo, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and São Paulo. Its bags are also sold in over 500 corners and shop-in-shop inside department stores plus distribution in 4.200 multi-brand stores.

Kipling's headquarters were moved in 2004 after the brand was bought by VF Corporation, and are since located in Bornem, Belgium.

  • 1987 January: Kipling company was founded in Antwerp, Belgium
  • 1992: The original founders sold the Kipling company to a private owner
  • 1999: Kipling sold to Swiss bank UBS Capital
  • 2002: Kipling re-purchased by the private owner
  • 2004: Kipling purchased by VF Corporation[8]


  • Autumn/winter 2008: Gloria Coelho, in partnership with Kipling, launched its preview winter collection 2008 during the São Paulo Fashion Week. Four bags were created out of this association, representing both Kipling and Brazilian Gloria Coelho's styles.
  • Spring/summer 2009: Cathy Pill is a Belgian fashion designer. She qualified from La Cambre, paraded during the Haute Couture week in Paris . Kipling and Cathy Pill jointly create nine lamb leather handbags for the Cathy Pill Haute Couture collection.
  • Autumn/winter 2009: Valéria Siniouchkina is a Belgian-Russian designer and founder of "Girls From Omsk". She collaborated with Kipling for spring-summer 2009 collection. The collection resulting from this collaboration featured graphic, urban prints and vivid colours.
  • Spring/Summer 2010: Anna and Macarena, Spanish designers from El Delgado Buil, designed six bags and three accessories, using heart decoration, locks of hair prints, nylon with nubuck trimmings and fringes. The Kipling by El Delgado Buil collection included was presented at the spring-summer 2010 catwalk at Cibeles Madrid Fashion Week.
  • Autumn/winter 2010: The label Peter Pilotto is headed by designers Christopher De Vos and Peter Pilotto. The artistic director from Kipling, and the two winners of the Emerging Talent Award 2009 collaborated to create two different bag collections, with two types of prints. One features space and the other mechanics. The result of this collaboration was 11 bags and 5 accessories, including backpacks, bum bags and shopping bags.[9]
  • Fall 2013: Collection with Helena Christensen[10]
  • Spring 2014: Collection with Natalie Joos: a trolley collection with Belgian blogger and fashion writer Natalie Joos in New York.

Fall 2015: David Bromstad Luggage Collection [11]


Elise Crombez was chosen as model for the autumn winter 2009, as well as for spring summer 2010 Kipling collection. Anouck Lepère was chosen as model for the autumn winter 2010 Kipling collection. She is also posing for Peter Pilotto's collaboration with Kipling.

iPhone applications

A weather broadcast, collections and store locator iPhone application, named KWeather, was released on 3 January 2010. This free application allows the user to access information about the weather, to view the current Kipling catalog, and find the nearest Kipling shop. A second iPhone application, named KipMonkey, was released on 7 May 2010. The free application includes a match-three puzzle game with the monkey logo from the Grilla Girlz collection.

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