Can you believe its been 20 years since Bugaboo launched? The same year in-fact that the printed edition of Junior magazine first published… clearly a very innovative and stylish year 1999 was all round! Described as the ‘perfect pushchair for parents’, known worldwide for being at the cutting edge of modern buggy design and kick-starting what can only be described as a stroller revolution. Bugaboo literally reinvented the (stroller) wheel.
Yes, of course Bugaboo are primarily made for babies and children but, they are designed for parents and, hands down, are pretty much responsible for turning the luxury pushchair into a “status symbol” for modern parents. And, what’s more 2019 marks 20 years since the Dutch company first launched, but pre-conception was just a mere 2 years prior in the making….
It was in 1994, while at the highly respected Design Academy Eindhoven, Bugaboo co-founder Max Barenbrug (who was 29 and childless at the time, along with initial investment from Eduard Zanen) earned the highest honours for his mobility concept project, which included a versatile city pushchair designed for modern urban parents! His graduation project came about because he considered the buggies he had witnessed thou far boring, impractical – and, he frankly wanted to design a buggy that would appeal to men too! He spotted early on that fathers were uncomfortable pushing them (and, most were too short for Dutch men to boot). He applied for a patent straight away.
It was the following year in 1995, when the Bugaboo 0 series prototype came to be and received an overwhelmingly positive response at Kind + Jugend (the premiere baby and toddler trade show held in Cologne, Germany) inspiring Max to further enhance the safety and comfort. And, we could say the rest is history. But, that would be no fun as from project-to-pavement the Bugaboo has constantly reinvented the stroller market to become a cult classic – and, plus we wanted to explore and celebrate the how-and-why with these 20 interesting facts and key moments of Bugaboo!
Celebrating 20 Years of Bugaboo
The first Bugaboo Classic was launched in Holland in 1999. Today, the original prototype Max Barenbrug made for his design project lives on a shelf behind Bugaboo’s reception desk.
The Bugaboo website officially launched and the Bugaboo logo of 3 overlapping circles communicates the Bugaboo ideals: mobility, movement and connection.
Fuelled by a passion for innovation, Barenbrug then evolved the chassis of his original design, giving it a frog-like suspension and the modular, multi-terrain, infant-to-toddler – and, the Bugaboo Frog was born.
A major highpoint – and many believe the breakthrough moment for Bugaboo – was its cameo on HBO’s hit series ‘Sex and the City’ which ignited instant object lust among fashion conscious parents in the US and beyond. A Bugaboo Frog appeared in episode six of season five, parked in the hallway of Miranda’s Hobbes (played by Cynthia Nixon) apartment. Spotted while she frantically prepared for work after a sleepless night with her new baby and, shown in a further scene involving new mum Miranda chatting with Carrie (Sarah Jessica Parker). As with many items spotted on this iconic, trendsetting show – which up till now, mainly inspired us to buy expensive Manolo Blahniks heels and vintage fashion items – the £700+ Frog became an instant lust-have. This was further (and, eternally) endorsed when celebrities – and first time mums, including Gwyneth Paltrow and Victoria Beckham were pictured pushing them.
Bugaboo is first introduced the the UK. And, still riding high on the ‘Sex and the City’ debut, much closer to home success of the Bugaboo can be attributed to the new paparazzi target: the baby-making celebrity and celebrity news magazines. Dominating, the stylish pavements of London from north to south the Bugaboo fast became the pushchair of of choice for the likes of Gwyneth Paltrow, Stella McCartney, Claudia Schiffer, Geri Halliwell and Gwen Stefani amongst other so called ‘yummy mummies’.
Staking its design-led credentials once more Bugaboo launches the perfect pair of jeans – in a special edition denim Bugaboo Frog. The first of many denim and catwalk-led colour and fabric collections.
The year Bugaboo became a family. Expanding its product line to include two new products for the modern and now very demanding new parent – the fully-loaded Bugaboo Cameleon and the essentials only Bugaboo Gecko. In 2005, Bugaboo also launched ‘Bugaboo By’ – a travelling medium for creative statements given carte-blanche to design a limited-edition model. The inaugural effort, in cooperation with the Dutch Fashion Foundation, features a limited edition Bugaboo Cameleon designed by cutting-edge artist, Bas Kosters. He designed a completely white stroller (the frames and all plastic components) a challenge, which came to fruition just 2 years later.
Bugaboo get a new home at its Amsterdam HQ to accommodate its growing company – having had only 7 employees in 2001. The new space inspires design innovation, sharing and exploration. This was also the year the Bugaboo travel bag was launched meaning globe-trotting parents could take their beloved stroller (and keep it protected) whenever they went too.
In 2007, the compact-yet-complete Bugaboo Bee was born, meeting the needs of urban dwellers that live life on the fly. Once these new models arrived, as with any desirable object there were months-long waiting lists to buy one – the Bugaboo Bee had as long a waiting list as that year’s other hot new lifestyle item: the first iPhone! The Bugaboo Bee offered swivel wheels, easy folding and was the ultimate statement piece that parents were proud to push around town.
The Baby Cocoon was also introduced to provide additional neck and head support for the smallest travellers, making the compact, easy and nimble Bugaboo Bee the complete and ideal buggy from newborn. What really makes the Bugaboo unique is the option to mix and match the stroller frame, seat, sun shade and more. This means you can refresh them with an on-trend look each season and ensure your buggy is a little bit different from the neighbours. (Today, more colours and materials have been added to the range, and options extend to the handlebar grips and wheel caps. You can get is a mind-boggling 792 mix-and-match possibilities!)
In the same year, the distinctive silhouette of a Bugaboo pushchair is featured in a series of Dutch postage stamps in a series paying tribute to Dutch design icons.
Further cementing its ‘fashionable’ appeal Bugaboo works with fashion visionary Marc Jacobs to create 15 highly- coveted glossy black, limited edition Bugaboo Cameleons dressed in signature ‘Love Marc’ fabric selling for over £1,250 a piece. 2008 also saw the successful partnership with Paul Frank Inc. – adding fun and playful prints for parents looking to stand out from the crowd. Ahead of the curve once more – and on the cusp before the explosion of ‘motherhood social sharing’, Bugaboo also created a dynamic digital community in 2008, inviting modern parents to connect, share and inspire one another through photos, stories, ideas and films.
Ten years after its launch, Bugaboo sells its 500,000th original pushchair! And to this day, the original pushchair – which established the Bugaboo brand – has reached more than one million parents in more than 40 countries worldwide. 2009 also saw Bugaboo team up with Hello Kitty! who was celebrating her 35th anniversary – to offer eight limited-edition Bugaboo Bees‘ in exclusive fabrics – that became instant collectors items in their own right.
The Bugaboo Classic, Bugaboo Frog, Bugaboo Gecko and Bugaboo Cameleon have all proved that the iconic design is timeless – and, we have given them various Junior Design Awards over the years to prove it. The Bugaboo Fox won Best Pushchair Design in 2018 and this year the newly launched Bugaboo Ant won for Best Compact Pushchair Design
Showing a change in the times, Bugaboo introduced a iPhone holder designed to keep your iPhone within reach while keeping your hands free while strolling with your child. For easy access, the holder attaches to the handlebar of your Bugaboo pushchair – and sits nicely with your eco-friendly, reusable coffee, frappe or water bottle holder (launched in 2007). During this same year, Bugaboo is amongst the (Product) Red* products featured in the hit series ‘Britain’s Next Top Model’, hosted by international modelling icon Elle McPherson. Each of the female contestants is challenged to do a photo shoot with a different item from the product range. 2010 was also the year they bid farewell to the Bugaboo Frog.
*Bugaboo donate 1% of revenue to the (Product) Red AIDS charity.
This year sees the launch of the first convertible pushchair for children and goods, the Bugaboo Donkey. Waking up the stroller scene the Donkey was a single stroller (only 60cm wide) with extra storage space and the ability to expand into a side-by-side double stroller in just a few clicks – something that had never been seen before… and parents just loved it! 2011 also brought a host of accessories and extras – that now you would wonder how you managed without – the bugaboo stroller bag/oragnizer and the cross-bar snack and juice tray.
Continuing it high-end fashion and design collaborations Bugaboo collaborates with Italian fashion house Missoni on two vibrant designs for the Bugaboo Bee and Bugaboo Chameleon. As well as extending its all black collection of the Bugaboo Bee too.
This year also saw the launch of an inspiring collaboration between Bugaboo and Dutch designer duo Viktor & Rolf. The exclusive ‘My First Car’ Viktor & Rolf for Bugaboo stroller was of course, a limited edition. This stylish, luxury stroller is equipped with mono-color anodized grey chassis, with grey, classic sports car-style fabric, a leather-look canopy with a matching hand-stitched leather wheel skin on the handle bar and carry handle. ‘My First Car’ gave the impression of your baby already readying himself for driving its first wheels as it is outfitted with rear silver alloy wheels featuring the iconic Viktor & Rolf emblem.
Bugaboo also launched BOO magazine an online, 164-page fully-coloured digital brochure packed with family lifestyle features, fab photography and up-to-date information. But, sadly only published the one celebration issue.
In the year that the first Bugaboo store opened, the all-terrain Bugaboo Buffalo was introduced to its growing family of strollers. The Buffalo is like a cross between the much loved cameleon stroller and the extra rugged donkey stroller.
This year saw several limited edition collections giving all its iconic strollers a new lease of life with modern designs and accessories. First up is a two-year partnership with The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, with the launch of the Andy Warhol + Bugaboo collection. Undoubtedly, one of the most recognisable pop artists of the 20th century, Bugaboo were given unlimited use of the Andy Warhol’s images.
The first collections included his “Flowers” showcasing Warhol’s famous floral work in prime colours of red and black, and his “Cars” print in black and cream, both created back in 1962. The second drop that year featured “Happy Bugs” and “So Many Stars”. These collections are based on the Warhol artwork of the 1950s – and the hand drawn illustrations herald from Warhol’s pre-pop period -when he was a famed commercial illustrator in New York City. The final Retrospective Collection paid homage to the legendary pop artist with four prints, and four stories in designs that span his career: “Butterflies”, “Globetrotter”, “Marilyn Monroe”, and the “Banana”.
This year they also launched a 3-year collaboration with lifestyle brand Diesel. Bugaboo By Diesel, this urban inspired collection included military inspired designs and colours, rock and roll denims and camouflage print strollers for the Born to #bebrave generation
Bugaboo introduced the Bugaboo Runner, designed specifically for active parents who didn’t want to compromise as a complete jogging pushchair suitable for jogging with children from 9 months old+. Designed for speed and safety with a fixed front wheel, large air filled tires, a unique suspension system and a handlebar brake to control your speed. The large under seat basket holds essentials and most of the branded accessories are compatible with the pushchair.
2015 also marked another significant art and Bugaboo partnership. To mark the 125th anniversary of master painter Vincent van Gogh’s death they collaborated with the Van Gough Museum in Amsterdam on a new design. Featuring the artist’s gorgeous 1890 painting, ‘Almond Blossom’ on the sun canopy (while the seat fabric and bassinet come in Petrol Blue to reflect the sky and the silvery-green chassis and a faux leather handle bar were to echo the colour of the branches). The original painting was in celebration of the birth of his nephew, Vincent Willem, and symbolises new life and beginnings. Only 100 were made – making these buggies, literally, a collectable work of art.
With several collaborations under its belt Bugaboo once again proved they are at the go-to brand for art, design and fashion-loving parents. This year saw a limited-edition collaboration with French graphic designer and fine artist Niark1, a playful creation of some new monster characters entitled ‘Monsters on the Move’.
Sebastien Feraut AKA Niark1, a French illustrator, graphic designer and fine artist based in Paris. Well known in the underground graphics scene – his surreal & psychedelic illustration art is instantly recognisable – and, his recent campaigns for Converse and Malibu and collaborations with the likes of Pharrell Williams and Iggy Pop in the music world.
It’s been five long years since a new launch from Bugaboo and as they officially discontinued the Buffalo, its first dedicated all-terrain pushchair – the Bugaboo Fox ‘unofficially’ launched in its place. With innovative design providing the ultimate comfort the Fox is intended for both urban and country life. Offering the most stable ride on all surfaces thanks to its new advanced all-wheel suspension – and as with all Bugaboo’s is built to last. The Bugaboo Fox won Best Pushchair Design in our 2018 Junior Design Awards – scooping Platinum no less. The Fox stroller fabrics are made with recycled PET bottles – offering not better value for money, it also lowers the product’s environmental impact.
Seven years after its launch the Bugaboo Donkey 2 was also released, offering alongside many of its innovative and much-loved features, enhanced performance and style to meet modern parents lifestyles and demands. Like for twin parents and growing families – when converted to a side-by-side double stroller (with the additional duo extension set) – the width of the stroller remains the same and, it still fits through most doorways
An exciting year for Bugaboo. It’s 20th anniversary and to celebrate the brand launched two new products in new categories: the Bugaboo Ant (the brands first compact stroller) and the Bugaboo Turtle (the brands first car seat).
The Bugaboo Ant (read our guide to everything you need to know about the Ant here) and what our esteemed panel of judges at this years Junior Design Awards thought when the Bugaboo Ant scooped Best Compact Pushchair Design) it is the brands lightest and most compact stroller yet, offering a smooth and stylish ride with height-adjustable handlebar, one handed steering a reversible seat and the option to convert it into a pull along trolley for rolling through airports and stations.
The Bugaboo Turtle (designed in collaboration with premium Dutch car seat brand Nuna) is their first foray into car seats and offers a smoother transition from car to pushchair with its lightweight design and integrated adapters – and, means a sleek and complete travel system collection for busy parents.
To further commemorate Bugaboo’s 20th anniversary, a limited edition collection with Dutch designer Bas Kosters celebrated the brands first Bugaboo By collection in 2005.
HAPPY 20TH BIRTHDAY BUGABOO! Here’s the the next 20….
>> For up to date information, stockist and prices visit Bugaboo