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Silfen

We’re all obsessed with bags, Silfen bags to be exact.


Out of the abundance of accessories available to us, bags are probably the most discussed. You only have to get lost in the sea of ‘what’s in my bag’ video’s on YouTube to confirm that. But, with its ’90s-inspired kaleidoscopic purses, Danish bag brand Silfen seems to stick out of that discussion.  Also known as Daniel Silfen, or Silfen Studios, the brand is run by brother-and-sister duo Daniel and Celine Silfen. Having their parents run fellow bag brands Adax and Nunoo, the Silfen kids grew up with stories about the bag business. Although, initially, they weren’t that into it. “As a child, I thought it was insanely boring when my parents talked about bags over dinner,” laughs Celine Silfen. Obviously, even she couldn’t resist the lore of the bag industry, although she gave Silfen bags her own twist.

Silfen is known for its kaleidoscopic prints. 


That twist is defined by Silfen’s ‘90s-inspired silhouettes, made from cutting-edge materials like rPET, which is a polyester consisting of recycled used plastic bottles. But most of all, Silfen’s bags became iconic through their crazy prints and rainbow of colours, including the glossy flame-shaped panels of this Thora bag, and the glittery greens of this teeny tiny Yasmin purse. About their focus on prints, Celine Silfen says: “Although you can play with shapes, you can tell a story with print. It’s like a playground for us. We also love to make bags a part of your outfit, something that isn’t just for practical use but makes a statement about the person wearing it.”

Are bags empowering or oppressive?


As rich as the prints adorning Silfen’s bags is the history of them. Throughout history, purses have been debated as being either empowering or oppressive. They date back to right after the French Revolution when the column-like dresses that were in fashion made it impossible to wear pockets. So, the Reticule was born: a teeny tiny purse beautifully adorned and often made of netting or silk. Reticules signified prestige and wealth: the smaller and more impractical the purse, the more well-off and powerful the wearer. According to Celine Silfen, that sense of empowerment continues to be woven into Silfen’s bags: “Bags are a way for people to express themselves and to be self-reliant. At Silfen, we make bags for everyone: people who like to carry a lot, love glitter, see bags as only practical or an accessory. I think people can be quite possessive of their bags because they are a part of them, they contain all the things that define a person, both literally and symbolically.”

Although covered in pink glitters, Silfen’s bags are not exclusive to women.


The ongoing empowerment vs. oppression issue is mainly thanks to bags being seen as an exclusively feminine affair. We all know what happened to Friend’s Joey Tribbiani when he donned a “man bag” for one blissful episode. But are bags really exclusive to women? We don’t think so. Neither does Celine Silfen: “Bags are important to all people, whether you identify as feminine, masculine, male, female or non-binary. Although it’s difficult to establish a new norm in a world that has decided that purses are not masculine, at Silfen, we hope to introduce men to the world of bags one bag at a time.”

Silfen’s world of bags is also good for the world.


If it’s up to Silfen, that world of bags would be good for the whole world too. We’re talking about sustainability. Silfen’s goal is to embrace a circular production model, and the bag brand is keen on upping its sustainability game season after season. They minimise water consumption, work exclusively with eco-cotton for their cotton products and have introduced rPet into their line of bags. The above-mentioned recycled polyester is made from plastic bottles that were fished out of the ocean, shredded, transformed into yarns and ultimately your new Silfen bag. Silfen also provides insurance for all its employees and their families. All Silfen’s manufacturers are SA8000 certified and regularly visited for checks. Short for Social Accountability, this standard ensures there’s no child or forced labour, nor discrimination, that the working environment and hours are safe and that employees have the freedom of association and right to collective bargaining. In short: By playing with prints, politics, and (sustainable) materials, Silfen transformed the classic handbag into a funky and durable it-bag and a bestseller at our TITS store. 

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