CollabStudio 91: KAAI x Marie M

CollabStudio 91: KAAI x Marie M

“Three girls, two dogs and bags .”

KAAI launches her first designer collab from her “Collabstudio91”: a Japanese market bag and lunch bag, designed together with Marie Martens, who graduated from the Fashion department of the “Royal Academy of Fine arts in 2020.

KAAI aims to experiment and collaborate with an exclusive community of designers, artists, architects. In their Collabstudio91, they are developing unique products with the aim to support and promote female designers and local brands.

For Spring Summer 2021 KAAI presents a project with Marie Martens, a young and upcoming designer from Antwerp, known for her naïve yet recognizable, colorful style. “For me, designing is a kind of escapism because I always draw girls in places where I would like to be” explains Marie Martens.


Working with KAAI was a new experience for me: during the first meeting with Helga and Ine, they talked about what kind of woman a “Kaaiwoman” is: she loves city life, is practical and fashionable. So I had to imagine what kind of artwork would fit them well but also my style.

My creative process while designing clothes always starts with a drawing so this was an interesting project for me to do. For this collaboration I drew on my I-pad and during this process empathized with the ”Kaaiwomen”

Japanese workbag

“Working with Marie was an exciting journey.”: Helga Meersmans, co-founder and designer of KAAI.  Marie has a youthful and lighthearted design style. This made me very eager to develop a summer bag together with her. The subjects for the drawings were quickly decided upon. More difficult was to make the drawings fit within the triangular panels of the Japanese bag. The three girls, 2 dogs and bags had to be clearly visible. We are very happy with the final result of these 2 unique bags.


Inspired by the Japanese Furoshiki, the bag has diagonal cuttings and is a mix of  2 prints designed by Marie M. Like every Kaai bag, it has some practical features such as the inner pocket to store small personal belongings. Ultra-Light to carry and easy to fold, this shopping bag can be stored easily in your Kaaibag and is perfect for your last minute grocery shopping or a holiday. 

Japanese workbag



Marie’s print is also used on a practical, yet fashionable,lunch bag. As Kaaiwomen are always on the go and often store their salads, soups, fruit and smoothy in their Kaaibag, there was a request for a safe yet original designed lunch bag. The inside of the bag is made of a special waterproof fabric. Not only for lunch, but also during the summer holidays,it can be used to store  sunscreens, water bottles  or other beach items.

“I have a lot of respect for the 2 power women behind the brand KAAI.They have an eye for what women need, something that is often not taken into account or is missing in fashion collections and designs.”
- Marie M.

Marie Martens graduated in 2020 from the Antwerp Fashion Academy, and won the Weekend Knack Award as promising designer. After gathering some experience at Dries Van Noten, she will soon launch her own brand  named “Rosie Antwerp”,  together with her sister Ellen Martens.


Meanwhile, KAAI is working on a new collab in her Collabstudio91 for the Xmas  collection.

To be continued!

Photography by Eva Thurman. @eva_thurman_99

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