* Prices may differ from that shown
~ * ~ Kipling Himi Cross Body Bag ~ * ~
Kipling is a brand I found while browsing on QVC one day, the show featured a vast assortment of handbags in a spectrum of different colours and patterns, ones that you never normally see on the high street. It wasn't until one viewer called into the show and said she had over 600 of the bags in her collection; I was intrigued and I had to find out more. Having owned several of this brand's handbags since that day, this review discusses my latest purchase, the Himi small crossover bag.
~ * ~ About Kipling ~ * ~
Let me first tell you a little of the history behind Kipling. Kipling was established Antwerp in 1987, and having celebrated its silver anniversary just recently, there is obviously some reason why it's gone from strength to strength; doubling their sales in just the last five years alone. Their motto is 'fashion is too important to be taken seriously' and as such everything is designed with not only function and versatility at its core, but also fun and a touch of Belgian quirkiness too. For sale in a total of 67 countries, Kipling is a truly global brand - the monkey symbol on 'most' of their products was discovered in Asia, the nylon composition of the bulk of those bags found in Europe, the bold attitude inspired by the Americans, and the Kipling name an indisputable British literary legend. They know women and what women want, and aren't afraid to bring it to us. It's a simple as that!
~ * ~ Where To Purchase ~ * ~
Kipling has more than 215 stores worldwide, but rather annoyingly, for me at least, is that there is only one based in the UK, in Newport in Wales. This makes it rather tricky for most of us to get to, but thankfully I can get my Kipling fix relatively easily by shopping online at www.kipling.co.uk, or with a range of other retailers. There are a whole host of Kipling stockists out there in internet land, and a quick search on Google (or any other internet search engine) will bring them up. My favourite by far though has to be Amazon for several reasons, and not trying to make this review about Amazon instead of Kipling, they have fab promotions and even more fabulous prices, Kipling included. Therefore I was able to purchase Himi, R.R.P of £37 on Kipling website direct, for the much lower price of £22.20 and in a colour not directly available from Kipling at that time.
~ * ~ What Is It Made From? ~ * ~
Before I mention the design, I must first talk about the construction of this bag as I feel it's what will put some people off. It's not leather, although there are some in the Kipling range, it's not even something pretending to be leather, it's made from nylon. While some people might think of this as odd, it makes for a very light handbag, one that's easily cleaned, and gives it the ability to come in a range of fashion forward colours at a very low price. Kipling bags are notorious for their weight, making them ideal to travel with. They fold down flat to almost nothing, but when you want to use them, they are extremely tardis-like within. Kipling recommend that they are wipe clean only, but being manufactured from this fabric has some benefits; they seem to repel dirt and moisture, but I've put mine in the washing machine on a 30 degree wash and suffered no ill consequences ever. The nylon exterior gives it a kind of sheen, and while it doesn't across as shiny, this does make it easy to wipe or wash and it dries in a relatively short amount of time. I do hang this to dry though, and wouldn't dare risk putting it though a tumble dry cycle. The inside is fully lined too, from polyester this time, so this is wipe clean too, should you spill anything inside.
~ * ~ Size Isn't Everything ~ * ~
Himi is a small crossover bag as I've already mentioned, but this is not to say it wouldn't suit a whole range of people. Different people have different tastes obviously, but I'm 43 and love this bag and so too does my daughter, she has a different colour. It will suit different statures too. I wear mine cross body in the main, and I love its petite style because as a 5 foot 2 person, and size 8, I find it doesn't drown me, I hate it when you find a handbag you love but the proportions don't look right. My daughter on the other hand is a 5 foot 10, 22 year old, and a size 18. It doesn't look odd on her either. She loves Himi's modern and youthful feel, and while it wouldn't contain her 'everything but the kitchen sink' opinion of things she just 'has' carry with her, it's great if she just wants to pop to the shops, or meet the girls for a coffee.
The dimensions are 14.5 cm's L x 15 H x 7.5 W and it holds a capacity of one litre (so the website informs me). This means nothing to me though, so I will try to explain what you can fit inside so you can have some sort of 'visual' representation. My daughter has a Kipling Creativity purse in hers, and it's slightly larger than my small Radley zip around purse. You definitely wouldn't be able to fit an elongated, East to West style purse in here, or even the smallest Kindle Paper white, we've tried, but a small purse and a small point and shoot camera, some makeup items, and bunch of keys and you are good to go. There is an ample pouch to the front of the bag to put a phone in perhaps. A Samsung S2 fits in easily and my Samsung Galaxy Ace II positively rattles around, so there's plenty of space for something small that you needed easy access to, a child's toy or dummy perhaps?
~ * ~ Colourful Kiplings ~ * ~
The colour of my bag is classed as blue purple; other colours are poinsettia, mitchell blue, warm grey, light brown and the colour Emily owns, silver grey. The rather blurry photo shown above is the colour that I have. The material is a two tone colour and morphs between one shade and the other depending on the light hitting it at the time. The colour mostly reminds me of extra ripe blackberries, bursting with juiciness. This is accented with piping to the edges of the bag, fashioned in a slightly shiny damson shade, almost the same tone of colour to the blackberry but with a hint of pink coming through. On the silver grey bag, this comes across as almost reflective, like it would glow if it were caught in car headlights, it doesn't though, thank goodness.
The damson coloured piping is followed through to the strap of the bag. The width of this is 3cm's, so just over an inch, and you'll find that this sits nicely and extremely comfortably where you put it. Being made from the same nylon material as the bag (I presume) this has a woven texture and tends to sit where you want it, and doesn't slip around, be it on one shoulder, or cross body. There's nothing worse than a bag that cuts into your skin leaving red welts; obviously that could be due to the weight of the bag, and what its contents are; this being lightweight from the start, and not having the capacity to hold an awful lot of weight, you are never going to have that problem with this bag anyway. The strap has a fuchsia pink stripe running down the centre of the length, accented by flashes of cream either side, and finished off with the damson colour. The whole construction of this strap is quality through and through, and reminds me of a canvass utility bag I used to use for school in the eighties, the colours and design of the pattern of the strap brings the whole effect bang up to date though.
~ * ~ Details Make A Difference ~ * ~
As ever with Kipling, it's the little details that make all the difference. The fuchsia pink and cream detail on the strap, are picked up with the zip. It's an extremely strong zip with chunky teeth, and made of a plastic material rather than metal. This makes it supremely strong and you can tell the quality just by looking at it. As its plastic you might be worried about it sticking and being hard to draw across at times, but this isn't the case. The metal hardware, where the strap fastens to the main body of the bag, the length adjuster, the magnetic metal popper that holds the front flap down are all silver coloured and although this is a relatively new purchase, I can't see that the silver effect would rub off over time; it hasn't on any of my other bags, and the oldest is five years old and used quite often, as it's now my gym bag. Indeed, the quality is shown throughout; with the superb nature of the manufacture, there isn't one stitch out of place, or one loose thread, one pull, snag, or anything.
~ * ~ What's That You Say? No Monkey? ~ * ~
There is one flaw with this bag which could be seen as a downfall for some, but not others. Kipling is renowned for having orang-utans as their symbol and 'most' bags feature them in some form or another. Nearly every bag I own has a fluffy monkey with a name. These can be kept on the bag, or used as key-rings. My youngest daughter aged just five at the time, could spot a Kipling bag at 100 metres and often before I did; simply from the 'monkey' swinging from the bag. Each monkey comes with a name of someone who works at Kipling, I think this is really touching; how lovely to have a monkey named after you, but being a global brand, this does lead to some rather whacky names though. Here's the problem with my bag - I think it's the only Kipling bag I've ever seen, and I'm not an expert on the range believe me, that doesn't have a monkey. (Before you tell me off I know orangutans aren't part of the monkey family, they are primates, but in my defence Marie-Francoise, the QVC presenter who works on Kipling's behalf, calls them that and if she can get away with it, I can too). This bag features what I would call a charm or a token that dangles attractively from the front flap. This feature is made from the same silver metal material as the hardware, and purple enamel de-bossing makes the Kipling logo stand out with silver highlights, and the effect is complete.
~ * ~ My Thoughts ~ * ~
I do hope I haven't bored you too much, and I hope my enthusiasm for the brand shines through. I love the Kipling bags for their fashion forward sense of style and colour as much as anything, but being fashionable, you'll find that the glaring orange that is fashionable today (for example) is done in such a shade, that you wouldn't be ashamed to use it five years from now. The come up with a range of prints too, but I prefer the solid colours; they may be a bold 'chunk' of colour but they certainly aren't 'plain'.
Their sales have doubled in the last five years, and it's been five years since I discovered them - Isn't that a co-incidence? :o) The bags are always manufactured of the highest quality and construction, are light weight and versatile. I love them and I can whole heartedly recommend them to you. Therefore I can only conceivably award my Himi bag, and Kipling, the full five stars.
Thanks for reading and I apologise for the length of my review x