“So I made my own rules.” about wearing leather gloves

“So I made my own rules.” about wearing leather gloves

While I was digging into the archives of Ines Gloves, I came up with this 7 year old article that tells the Ines story from, I guess, a different point of view.

After a nice interview by Milou van Rossum, it was published in Dutch national newspaper NRC.

I remember that Ines really wanted to read the article before it was getting published.
She was not pleased with some things, especially related to her appearance and age.

I think Ines tried to get some changes done.
She thought of it as a matter of privacy.

The journalist obviously disagreed.
She just wanted to write an honest and interesting story and I must say its a fun read indeed.

An interesting quote from the article:

"I think people always make things so complicated about gloves."


Here is the full article:

Lady Gaga and Madonna wear gloves from Dutch glove designer Ines
Ines van den Born made the first pair for herself, to protect her skin.

“The first time Vogue wanted to borrow a pair, I didn't believe it. Now we find that very normal.”

Slowly, but determinedly.
That is the advice that Ines van den Born gives her customers.
First place the fingers in the glove one by one, then pull it over the hand, wrist and possibly the arm.
These thin leather gloves are stronger than most people think.

Van den Born is the woman behind Ines Gloves, a Dutch company specialized in luxury leather gloves.
Next to unlined she has lined examples in its collection, such as long, purple 'opera gloves' with a red cashmere lining.
But the gloves are not intended to keep hands warm.
They are primarily intended as elegant accessories.

Famke Jansen, Lady Gaga and Gisele Bündchen
“We are not very big, but the whole world is looking at us,” says Van den Born, a small woman in black clothes who wears her long grey hair loose.

“The first time German Vogue wanted to borrow a pair, we almost didn't believe it. Now we find it very normal that we receive requests from fashion magazines from all over the world.”

Gisele Bündchen wore Ines Gloves in a photo by Steven Meisel, Sienna Miller in a photo by Mario Testino, Famke Janssen in the X-Men film series.
Lady Gaga in the Poker Face video.
Madonna borrowed a batch not too long ago.

Son Bob Borstlap, who is co-owner and takes the photos for the site, thinks he saw them at queen Máxima.
But because many famous people order the gloves through their stylists or assistants, he does not dare to say this with certainty.
What he does know: unlike the British queen, she always takes off her gloves when she shakes hands with someone. “I deduce from this that she finds personal contact important.”

Amsterdam atelier
Ines Gloves is located in a large upstairs apartment in the Amsterdam Red Light District.
Van den Born lives there with her husband, who is a doctor and has an anti-wrinkle practice in the house.
In Van den Born's office, which is adjacent to the living room, the special glove sewing machine has been removed: her producers now know how she wants her gloves.
There are stacks of the black boxes in which the gloves are packaged, and a wall is covered with the ones she lends out for fashion photos.
There are brightly colored gloves on the desk ready for shipment.
The brand can be found in a number of stores - all outside the Netherlands - but most of the gloves are sold online.

Van den Born does not want to say her age, but she is from the generation that wore gloves because that is how it was supposed to be.
She has kept a few from the past: wonderfully beautiful turquoise glacé's.

Bringing back leather gloves
She remembers how she went to the Meddens luxury wear house in The Hague with her mother and three older sisters in the 1950s and 1960s to buy gloves.
The Van den Borns were “a bit of a posh family, so to speak” – and according to her, Meddens opened their doors especially for them.
“Glove leather was stiffer then than it is now.
They had some kind of torture devices that you had to put your hand in, and then the glacé were wrestled up your arm.
It didn't fit properly, and pliers were needed to stretch it.”
They then had to be left on for a while so that the warmth of the skin made the leather more supple and a little wider.
Nostalgia for that “ridiculous charade” is not what brought her back to the gloves; Van den Born, who worked in the pharmaceutical industry for years, rediscovered them out of necessity.

A second skin
In the late 1990s, while doing sales and marketing for a company specializing in cardiology equipment, her bag slipped off her shoulder during a visit to a hospital in Leipzig.
It bruised her right hand.
The hand was excessively battered: it was bleeding profusely, a whole patch of skin was hanging loose.
It later turned out that she had an autoimmune disease that caused her hands to damage and bruise easily.

To hide her hands from view and to protect them, she bought a pair of fingerless gloves from a local wear house. “Made from acrylic, they were very itchy. Then I thought: what I need is a second skin.”
She bought a piece of chamois leather at a fabric store and found old books on eBay that explained how to make leather gloves.
And so she sewed her first pair at home, “just on the Singer sewing machine.”

The start of a family business
At some point she lost her job.
She didn't really need the "bag of money" she had received, so she decided to do "something fun" with it:
set up an online shop for the gloves that she had now made in all kinds of colors and about which she often received compliments.

She travelled to Northern Italy to buy leather – she had no idea that there is special glove leather, which is much thinner and more stretchy, that you buy in Southern Italy.

Initially, Van den Born only sold fingerless gloves, but gloves with fingers were soon added.
She made everything herself for the first three years.
Her site was initially called "Les gants d'Ines", which can be found via the link gloveseurope.com.
She kept her prices as low as possible.
“I didn't lose anything, but I didn't gain anything either.
Until I got a call from a costume designer looking for gloves for a musical.
He said he had hesitated about calling me; he thought: with those prices it couldn't really be good.
Then I understood that you cannot build a business with prices that are too low.”

Handcrafted in Italy
The Ines Gloves website attracts more than a thousand visitors per day and now generates a turnover of "a few hundred thousand" per year.
The gloves have been made by various manufacturers, mainly in Italy, Hungary and the Czech Republic.
Depending on the speciality of the factories and availability.
Quite a few specialists have stopped in recent years, although some old family businesses are starting their own web shop.
Nowadays the total production moved over to Italy where the gloves are handcrafted by Ines' glove makers.
The peccary leather gloves are made in Peru.
She recently lost 64 pairs because she did not have all the paperwork to import them.
“I did file a lawsuit because I couldn't stand it, but I lost.”

'Men in SM basements'
Ines Gloves is in tune with fashion.
In recent years, jackets have often had shorter sleeves, which seem to be made for long gloves.
But it's not just fashionable women who buy her gloves.
The audience moves between “republican American women who have to sit at dinner parties” and “men in SM basements.”

The latter group was by far the majority in the first few years; about seventy percent of the number of customers, Van den Born estimates.
She noticed when visitors to the site started asking if the long women's leather gloves were made in plus sizes.
“And ask via the chat function: 'Are you wearing gloves yourself?'
Or they send photoshopped examples of fetish suits asking if we can make them from glove leather.
"I respect and love my customers, but I immediately make short work of it. I have other things to do.”

Dutch Leather Design
To get out of the fetish corner, the site was changed about six years ago and enriched with photos of a young woman wearing the gloves with fresh dresses, making it clear that Ines Gloves is not an erotic leather goods company.
“Because we are not completely naive, it is a large and easy market,” there has been a special site for two years, Dutch Leather Design, where not only long gloves, but also bedspreads, capes, stockings and dressing gowns made of black glove leather are offered.

Always wear gloves
Most customers come from the United States.
For them, the gloves are a symbol of European elegance and etiquette.
Questions are often asked about the latter, such as 'Can I dine with gloves on?'
In the past, this was not allowed, as can be read on the site; people never ate, smoked or drank with gloves on.

“I think people always make things so complicated about gloves,” says Van den Born.

“So I made my own rules.”
In short, they boil down to this: always wear gloves.

NRC, 2016


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