Kipling’s 25th Birthday Party

There’s no other brand that brings back such memories from my childhood than Kipling. The iconic monkey stood for so much more than just a bag brand. Kipling sold a lifestyle, and was one of the first fashion brands to do so. The monkey and its three Belgian founders started their journey 25 years ago, and a rollercoaster it was. The brand knew giant success but also had to deal with enormous pitfalls. And yet, to this day, everybody still knows and loves Kipling. And how to celebrate one of Belgium’s biggest brands by throwing a monkey-themed birthday party! The Felixpakhuis in Antwerp was transformed into a jungle for the occasion, with monkey ears, banana candy and wild cocktails to match.

Paul Van de Velde, one of the three original masterminds behind Kipling, wrote the book Monkey Business back in 2008. It’s about the Challenges and triumphs of building an international fashion brand, and tells the story of Kipling in detail. And what an inspiring story it is! What began as a vague idea mounted into an iconic brand known all over the world. Fallen friendships, a lurking bankruptcy, unfair businessmen and an unstable market all proved challenging, but each and every time the monkey rose above it, only to find even more strength. I suggest you read to book and get inspired by it!

Even if you’re not much of a reader, flipping through the pages and seeing pictures of the bags bring back so much memories. I remember trading monkeys on the playground. There was Jacques, Maria, Debbie, … All named after Kipling-employees. There was the Banana-collection, of which one bag was my diaper bag 23 years ago and went with us every time we went swimming in the years after that. There was the time my mom bought the Ford Ka Kipling edition and got 6 Kipling bags with it. There was the peanut shaped eraser I used in elementary school, or the time I bought my very first real handbag, a light blue one with a silver monkey attached to it. So I wonder, did Kipling played a big role in your life growing up as well?

Thanks UPR for the invite and thanks Kipling for being a regular character throughout the lives of me and my family.

If picturs speak louder than words, than this video of the 25 years Kipling party just SCREAMS how fun it was!

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