Over Hester

  • Hester van Eeghen
    Amsterdam, 11 November 1958

    Education
    Dutch literature
    General leather course

    Leather design since
    1985

    Company Description
    Since 1988 shops on Hartenstraat in Amsterdam. Wholesale distribution to 150 stores in the Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland, UK, Japan and the US. In particular products have been sold in a number of museum shops (e.g., Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, Groninger Museum, Boymans van Beuningen Museum Rotterdam, Museum of Modern Art New York, National Gallery Aberdeen, Victoria & Albert Museum, London). The designs are created in the Netherlands and all the objects are manufactured in Italy, by craftsmen who specialize in individual high-quality manufacturing.

    Style
    Architectural, geometric shapes made in colourful leather.

    Inspiration
    City-life, history and ceremonies.

    Other Activities
    Designed and restyled collections for Marlboro Classics, Pacco Rabanne, Castelijn & Beerens, Jaguar.

    Passion for Leather
    In 1998, created a foundation to stimulate leather craftsmanship in Holland.

  • Happiness for me is being in my atelier - my studio - completely unrestrained and focused, experimenting with designs. When I am working, I surround myself with sketches I’ve made and hundreds of swatches of leather. It is like a silent dialogue, and leather is my muse. From my first discovery of leather, I have remained true to this innocent obsession. The touch, sight and smell of it fills me with a sense of wonder and surprise. It is my intention to imbue this passion I feel into every design I create. I want my pieces to stir the soul, to uplift the spirit and to inspire joy. I want you to feel what I feel when I am creating.

  • I was born in Amsterdam in 1958, the youngest of five children in a family that has been involved in the arts in The Netherlands since the 17th century. I studied literature at the University of Amsterdam, and soon got involved with theatre, acting, and producing musicals.

    It was during that time I also started designing bags and working with leather. Although it was my passion, I didn't dare imagine a living could be made as a designer and so I began to study law.

    Well, it didn’t take long before it was clear that I needed to follow my heart and leave the law books behind. I learned the technical craft of leather construction by working with a suitcase designer who encouraged me to perfect the smallest details.

    I scraped together money to buy small pieces of leather and created bags, one by one, which I then sold in local street markets. With each bag I sold, I would buy more leather, make more bags, and so on, until I finally was able to open my first shop on Hartenstraat.

  • Now, I design all my creations in Amsterdam and personally oversee their construction in small workshops in Milan, Italy. I found the best craftsmen in the world who use time-honored tanning and finishing techniques and stay true to the old-world traditions. My designs are like actors, each one has a distinct personality and character. And now they can be found not only in my Amsterdam stores, but also in luxury and museum stores throughout Europe, Japan and even New York City's Museum of Modern Art. The enthusiasm of my American customers in Amsterdam and their many requests for encores, has encouraged me to launch my online shop.

  • Exhibitions
    1991
    Dubio, The Hague
    1992
    Intermezzo, Dordrecht
    1994
    Hers, Rotterdam
    1995-1997
    Exhibited regularly in different galleries in the Netherlands and in Germany
    1998
    10 year celebration with a benefit auction at Sotheby's in Amsterdam
    1998
    British Council in Cairo
    1999
    Stichting Beeldende Kunsten, Haarlem
    2000
    Tassenmuseum, Amstelveen,
    Artani, Stuttgart, Germany
    2001
    Illmer Gallery, Osnabrück, Germany
    Designers present, Eindhoven
    2002
    Grace Barrand Design Centre, Surrey, UK
    2003
    Roger Billcliffe Gallery, Glasgow, UK,
    Galerie Forum, Mainz, Germany
    2003
    A documentary was made about her work and shown repeatedly on national tv.
    2003
    The Leather Design Foundation organized a design contest in order to stimulate Dutch leather industries.
    2004
    Cappello, Nijmegen
  • Bag and Shoe Design
    published in 2008
    The book charts her emergence as well as her eminence as a respected and collected designer. It also pays tribute to Hester’s modest yet flamboyent personality with a vision, driven by unbridled creativity and energy. Insights and anecdotes are combined with colourful illustrations of her one-of-a-kind designs, most recent work, and the timeless classics which remain collector’s items.
    Find the book online at Amazon (US or UK).

    Publications
    Regular publications in Interior and Fashion magazines (Marie Claire, Art Aurea, Avenue, Avantgarde etc.) and newspapers (Volkskrant, NRC Handelsblad, Trouw, Telegraaf etc.).