MEES

Marius Visser

Schoonhoven is a small village near Utrecht. There, in a garage, you'll find the atelier of Marius Mees Visser (22), the designer of the brand MEES. In this tiny working space, Marius cuts and stitches his leather Rollit bags all by himself.


Original design over practical design

Marius studied tailoring (Mode Maatkleding) at the ROC Mondriaan in The Hague. When he was doing an internship at Flybird, a brand of bags, Marius realised that making leather bags was what he wanted to do. Right after graduating, he got asked to make a sports bag for a company that supplies to football teams. It was not a usual sports bag: it was a bag in which all the eleven players of a team could put their phones, keys and wallets before the match, without them getting scratched. This was quite a complicated and above all very practical design. Marius thought it was a lot of fun to do, but he actually prefers to make beautiful products over practical products. That’s how, in November 2013, he started his brand MEES.

 

“Do laptops fit in your bags?” I ask. “Yes most laptops do, I did think about that. But my bags are not about being practical. For me, it’s important to stand out and be original and I think those are also the values of the people who like my brand”. The main product of the brand is the Rollit bag, which is also sold at Puha Shop. The Rollit bag is a backpack which you can roll up on the upper side: a very cool and recognizable design. “It’s a good start. But I want my next designs to be even more unique, so I am constantly trying to think out of the box and come up with more original designs.” Marius explains to me.


Craftmanship

In the meantime, he keeps working on the production of the Rollit bags. The garage where Marius has his atelier, is attached to his parents’ house. His father is an architect and his sister is an interior and product designer, so they often work in the same office and ask each other for feedback. As Marius prefers to keep his focus on design and craftsmanship, his sister helps him with the communication part of his brand. But that is pretty much the only thing that Marius doesn’t do by himself. Five days a week, Marius is cutting and stitching leather in his atelier.

 

The leather Marius buys for the bags doesn’t come in big amounts. So out of each hide, he can make just a maximum of two bags. This means that every bag is just one of a kind or two of a kind. He is always working on a few bags at the same time, step by step. When Marius has just gotten new leather, the first thing he does is draw the design onto the leather. Then he cuts it into the right pieces, he thins the leather so it becomes more flexible, stitches it all together and then adds the logos.


 Marius Visser met de Rollit bag

Experiments

Marius’ study was mainly about making clothes, so I wonder: is he ever going to make clothes again or is making bags all he wants? “What I love about making leather bags is all the handwork and the rough materials. Sewing clothes is something completely different. Maybe in the future I will make clothes again, but right now I really enjoy cutting and stitching leather. I do want to expand MEES with accessories like wallets and maybe even shoes.” Another thing that Marius is experimenting with is wood: he has some exciting plans for leather bags with wooden parts.

 

I can’t wait to see those, but Marius is still trying to find the best way to attach the two materials to each other. In the meantime we can still have fun with the Rollit bags. I wonder what kind of leather will be used next!

 

Model: Marius Mees
Interview: Carmen Kloosterhuis
Photography: Humphrey Daniels