Carolien Vlieger and Hein van Dam, trained as graphic designer and industrial designer, respectively, started the VLIEGER & VANDAM label in 2004 in response to the overwhelming success of their collaboration in 2002. This collaboration named ‘The Guardian Angel Handbag’ was a comment from both designers on all the media attention to street violence in the city of Rotterdam, the place where they had just settled. Those early Guardian Angels were assembled with parts from second hand handbags and new brightly coloured felt embossed with a distinct profile of a large kitchen knife or handgun. A handbag turned out to be the perfect vehicle for an international widely felt and far from salon fähig sentiment. In 2005 the Guardian Angel Handbags were featured in the exhibition SAFE: Design Takes on Risk at MoMA in New York, where they have been part of the collection ever since.