Dora Kloppenburg Hutspot

Accessory designer Dora Kloppenburg: ‘I aim to only focus on the essentials’

Interviews

Utrecht based shoe and accessory designer Dora Kloppenburg creates sustainable leather products and jewelry made of wood. She is known for her edgy designs and high quality eco-leather products, resulting in a collection that feels modern while balancing style and function. We visited Dora in her cozy atelier located at the cultural breeding place ‘Hof van Cartesius’ to talk about her upcoming jewelry collection, design process and sustainable approach to design.

How did you get into bag and accessory making?
Having a background in both fashion and furniture design, I became fascinated by the qualities of materials such as wood and metal and how they can be implemented in different ways. In my graduation project, I used wood in shoes. After I graduated, I continued to experiment with wood and discovered that the material lends itself perfectly for jewelry.

Dora Kloppenburg Hutspot

Dora Kloppenburg Hutspot

How did the material influence the design of the jewelry?
I was inspired by Russian constructivism. The wooden blocks have a geometric shape and the wearer can choose how to shape the different blocks by moving them around or putting in knots. I started working together with a carpenter, using his rest materials. It is my way of making the jewelry more sustainable.

How do you usually start a design process?
The process of construction or shape is what I am most interested in. I like old techniques, so I usually start researching and experimenting in 3D with paper or rest materials. For me, it is very important to immediately see how a shape looks in real and not to stick around in the drawing process for too long. 

When talking about aesthetic, I aim to only focus on the essentials. Shape can be as minimal as possible and functionalities are only added when necessary. The same goes for color: I believe that black and natural colors stimulate a timeless quality. People do not really buy a bag or jewelry for just one season or to match with just a couple of outfits.

Dora Kloppenburg Hutspot

Why did you decide to use eco-leather for all bags?
For me, there are many reasons to use eco-leather. I work with a leather tanner company in Germany. They tan the leather with the bark of an oak tree, instead of tanning the leather in polluting chrome. This is better for the environment and the people who are involved in the process, because of toxic water and air that is released when working with chrome. Another reason to use eco-leather is that the leather looks more natural. It will start to live more as you use it. Oh, and the cows on the farm I get my leather from have a beautiful life.

How does it feel to see people wearing your bags and jewelry?
It feels great! Sometimes, I see people on the street wearing one of my bags. I always have the urge to take a picture, but I never do haha! Customization is very important in my designs, especially in the jewelry. People really get experimental and this also inspires me.

What are you working on at the moment?
My new collection of jewelry is almost finished. The wood used is a combination of Dutch Laburnum and holly. Especially holly is an interesting material to use, because it is super strong and has a beautiful white color. Its small size limits the possibilities, but it’s perfect for jewelry. Furthermore, I collaborated with an experienced goldsmith that uses recycled silver. 


Shop bags and jewelry by Dora Kloppenburg in Hutspot Utrecht.