Design Icon ‘Bootleg’ – Patrick – Ick – Reuvis

Every other week, together with Sjiek / Het Belang Van Limburg, we present a Limburg design icon, or one that is well on its way to becoming one. This week it is the Bootleg from Patrick – Ick – Reuvis.

WHAT: The Bootleg is a leather handbag consisting of two soles as if they are two boots laced together.

YEAR: 1992

Patrick – ick – Reuvis form Hasselt is not only a certified interior designer, but also a committed designer and teacher. Remixer even, by clever use of existing materials, he creates meaningful products such as light totems from old opaline lampshades. His Bootleg bag is a maverick. Apparently, a remix with two EU size 41 boots with (there was also a larger bag in size 45). “The design dates from the pre-internet era. I had the bag made by a leather craftsman / shoemaker and when I presented the bag in a gallery in Mechelen (B), I immediately received a lot of acclaim.”


A few months later Reuvis read a call in Items, a Dutch design magazine, for the International Luggage Design Competition in Toyooka, the Japanese epicenter of handbags. “I just had a fax machine and faxed a photo of the bag with the following words: One of these days these boots are going to walk all over you.” (From a song by Nancy Sinatra, ed.) Just to make sure that his mini presentation would reach the other side of the world he mailed some extra via the post. “However, in the middle of the night I was startled by the rattling of my fax. He spewed all kinds of Japanese characters, which showed that my design had been chosen and that I was invited to the award ceremony”.


He used the plane tickets to Japan to his advantage and made a three-week trip, ending in Toyooka. “The Bootleg won the Grand Prize there: a pile of Japanese yen, but then beautifully packaged and handed to me by the Japanese prime minister. Totally out of my comfort zone I confided the package that evening to a random Japanese guy. Over the moon with the honor and the adventure. ”Back home, it turned out that this random guy, as agreed, paid the money to my account. Japan had made a big impression. Just like the Bootleg. Suddenly Reuvis was notified of illegal copies. Made in Japan? No, made by his own shoemaker!

Legally, Reuvis was right: stay to your own trade, was the message for the shoemaker. “I’m still being asked about the Bootleg. I also often see them popping up and it must be said: old age makes them even more beautiful. ”The footprint that the Bootleg leaves  is strong and large. Perhaps it is the metaphor of a bootleg, literally the leg of the boot in which people smuggled alcohol, or the irony of the Bootleg as an illegal copy. Or is it rather that virile tough look that makes you intuitively feel that there is more to this bag. What would have happened if the bag had emerged a little later, in full internet glory and social media boom? Or just a little earlier and closer in the slipstream of the Antwerp Six and without that copying hijacker on the coast …? “After the satisfaction of the design, the success all the way up to Japan and then the nerve-racking lawsuit, I let go of the Bootleg,” laughs Patrick Reuvis. “But at the moment I am considering a re-edition.”