Another relationship in Falmouth
A few weeks ago I was given a project on designing for a brand. Well, apparently, creating objects you love is a bit harder when you have to consider how other people/brands might feel about it. I chose to design for Christopher Kane, hoping I wouldn’t turn out to be the third wheel in this complicated relationship.
When I dived into my big Christopher Kane research, I couldn’t help but notice that although visually very similar, our approach to designing was significantly differing in terms of target customer and purpose. First obstacle.
Then I found these two beautiful collections – the Space Collection and the Outsider Art one. That was a place to start. Eventually, researching into materials and colours, I found that the contrast was a leading theme – contrast when it comes to fabrics (heavyweight and lightweight, rough and smooth), tones (earthy, natural and bright or even neon ones), layering, silhouettes (baggy and soft, and sharp ). There was a lot happening and I liked it.
Later on I found the one thing that amazed me, the sparkle, I thought. This really impressive journey back and forth in time – eclectic pie dough made of this futuristic space feeling and vintage colours, distorted images, abstract shapes with a hint of the past. The whole atmosphere of his work was suddenly making me feel like in a dream. So that was it – dreams, imagination. I had to adapt my product to people’s imagination, so that it would only be real for them, and always in a different way.
I then decided to explore how the colours and textures I had chosen would work on people’s five senses (as this is actually one of my design cues). I asked people what these fabrics felt like, what they smelled like, if they liked the sound of the moving texture, what taste they associated the colours and the structure with. Of course, I couldn’t help but include my own experience in the whole thing. After all, I am a really personal… person.
Having all the answers now, I started designing. Throughout the time I spent doing this, I did l o a d s of drawings, filled the recycling paper bag with torn paper, tried to listen to Christmas music, felt it was a bit too early, used up a few pencils and a felt tip pen, ate lots of chocolate, met a few new people in the library IT Centre (my new home, where I walk around in my Christmas socks).
The prints I created are individual for every item of the collection. The one I used on the backpack, in particular, is actually a drawing of a person I had just met in the library (after accidentally being racist by reading my friend’s joke on messenger aloud). After applying some Illustrator tools it no longer looked like the person from the library, but then I thought it would always be that for me. So, maybe it could be something different for others who use it – another way to make the backpack their own.
When it comes to the functional side of it though, I created two really nice cushions that look a bit like decoration but I definitely have to pay them the respect they deserve because they are a really important feature of my work. I start with the older one (the one I created first). So that is basically the laptop compartment – softer on the inside and harder on the outside (like Lindt chocolates) for better protection for your favourite device. The other cushion is attached to the front with some Velcro so you could easily turn it from decoration to a pillow when you are on the plane or the train. Both of the cushions are made of stuffed polyester with print and embroidery on it.
If you are like me and always lose your keys, or the coins you saved for chocolate later, you can definitely find the front pocket useful – it is designed to hold little things like that and besides, it is aesthetically really pleasing with the white vinyl decoration on it. There is also an easy access side pocket which is made of lightweight nylon and therefore doesn’t change the silhouette of the backpack.
One of my favourite features are the straps – made of neoprene foam and stuffed nylon. They turned out extremely comfortable. You can even look inside and see the foam through the white polyester net.
The backpack is made of waterproof materials and there is no stitching on the outside. Waterproof tape is reinforced both on the inside and the outside for extra durability, so you don’t need to worry about the fabric or the seams wearing out. What is more, if it is raining, you can fasten the front part of the rucksack to prevent water damage of the content.
Hmm… going through the whole project was quite refreshing. Hope this love triangle works better that the relationships in Falmouth.