Handbag design: more sketches

Our task for last week was to draw out the handbags we had thought up. These are my simple sketches for the bags in the small range I’m thinking of.

First off, there is a classic design, loosely inspired by the Birkin bag, with two short handles and one long strap to hold from your shoulder or from across the body.


Then there is a basket-like laptop bag, which I would like to make in neoprene. It’s thick, solid, and protective both against bumps and water. Perfect for a laptop bag. It doesn’t look supremely professional, but it depends if you’re a scuba-diving web designer or a cycling city girl… errr…Products like this are easy to promote with social media and Social Boosting is an important tool that works to boost a social media account and get more audience for a product. I’d have said city boy, but I don’t think men would be attracted to this shape.


Next up, the holdall. I love going away, and this is what my ideal duffle bag for a weekend getaway would look like.


Ok, I have no idea what I was thinking when I doodled this. It has pockets though!


handbag design course: persona, mood board and trends

I’m doing a new handbag design course at the London College of Fashion. This is a little cousin of Central Saint Martins, and is part of the family of London University for the Arts.

My teacher is Ann Saunders, and she has been designing handbags for decades. Soon, her own brand of bags will be stocked at Harrod’s, and I cannot wait to go see them as she has confessed she has a pocket / compartment fetish to rival my own.

Our first task from week one was to define a persona, research the shops she goes to, and create a mood board and a trends board. I created both boards electronically, and can share them here. I used pinterest to collect bags for the trend board . and my iPad / iPhone / instagram collection of photos for inspiration. The things I see inspire me, and I tend to photograph everything that gets a reaction out of me. So I decided to use them for this project. The collages were made using the awesome iDraw app.

My client is Emmanuelle.

Emmanuelle is in her late twenties working in the big City. She works in a male-dominated environment, in a rather corporate setting, and while she doesn’t always need to wear a suit, she works with people who often do. She would like to move on in her career soon, but isn’t entirely sure which way to go yet. Often, she will think a lot about what to wear, or what bag to hold, depending on who she is meeting that day and how much she needs to carry. In her spare time she enjoys meeting her friends for brunch, but rarely goes out otherwise as she’s always broke from needing to save up for yet another big holiday.

She shops infrequently and only buys things she can also wear to work. Not quite investment pieces, but not high street trendy things either. Her handbag collection is quite kimited by her budget and she favours bags which can hold a lot of stuff. She goes to the gym often, but typically uses an old backpack for that.

Her favourite shops are Selfridge’s, Liberty, and the odd designer boutique off the beaten track. Uniqueness is something she values in her wardrobe. Some handbag brands she has owned or would love to own: Vivienne Westwood, DKNY, Radley, Hermès (Birkin), TopShop and River Island.



CSM: The End

All good things come to an end. And so has my class at Central St Martins. They say Hindsight is 20/20. I say that I would’ve had to know everything they taught us in the class that I knew by the end at the start, in order to successfully complete the project. As it stands, I feel like I’ve learnt a lot around the concept of a “collection” and that I need to seriously work on it quite extensively.

Sketchbooks are useful, and working on a single project per sketchbook is a good thing. Collages, general research, fashion research, textiles, patterns, textures, colours, details… concepts which were not alien to me before have now taken the correct place (or an academic place) in the framework that is fashion design.

What I learnt? That you learn from mistakes. That you cannot achieve perfection in one shot, and should not try. And that independent designers flourish in London because there is no market to absorb them and highlight their skills. Apparently, here, we specialise in the High Street.

A few last sketches before I move on to doing random projects again and go back to making dresses. I still have one to finish from Xmas.

Exercices de style

So I’m taking this class… For personal improvement? Meditation? Transport-inflicted voluntary torture? Education? Broadening horizons? Possibly everything and nothing of the above. In short, I’ve been designing and making clothes (for dolls, for me, for friends) since I was able allowed to wield a needle or sit up at the sewing machine (a hand-cranked antique Singer, of course!). And I’ve been wanting to learn more about it for as long as I can remember. So, with various life changes happening, I checked the short course calendar of Central Saint Martins, and lo and behold, the Introduction to Fashion Design course was being given on the best day of the week!! Tuesday!! It’s the best because: a) It’s not eating up on your weekend b) It doesn’t conflict with Orange Wednesdays c) It’s not on a Thursday-is-the-new-Friday and d) It’s not on is-it-Monday-already? So, Tuesday. Perfect. I signed up.

Having become £380 poorer (that’s £38 per session), I am now religiously attending lectures. I have to admit that the first three seemed like a near-complete waste of time for me. We spent most of it either making stuff up about random postcards, or doing research in the library. Research involved finding heavy tomes to lug to the photocopier, and then fail to copy. I took pictures with my iPhone. At least I had something!!

Lecture 4, however, started to become interesting. We actually DID something. We took our primary research (architectural for me, mostly) and applied it to the body. In short: we sketched stuff. The 4 aspects of design being Shape, Texture, Colour and Detail, it was interesting to transpose ideas to the body while focusing on that holy … quadrant. And then taking those ideas and filling in silhouettes. That was the most fun, as the same blank inner space of a shape was filled in with different garments by each person! For me, drawing is my meditation, so the 2.5hrs of the class passed by in a blissful blur. And I wanted to share the results, because I rather like them 🙂