Y'all know I love me a self-directed project.
Recently, I've given myself the assignment of designing collections of accessories based on my friends' brands and lines. The logic is that by observing their products, , and the way they choose to present their collections, I'll work to distill the brand's unique charactersitics into a set of materials, construction details and motifs. Then use that analysis to design a collection of accessories with the brand's ethos.
I just really wanted a way to work on projects that I won't necessarily have to think about selling or manufacturing. Letting my mind explore the possibilities without having to worry about construction lets me truly expand my designs (you can design anything when you don't have to worry about constructing it yourself!)
The Design Process
It'll start by spending time with the website, Instagram, Tumblrs and press to get a more holistic picture of the brand and its inspiration. Then moodboard using their products & inspiration images.
Then I free sketch. Just figuring out what basic geometric shapes work best for the brand. Then turning those geometric shapes into bag shapes. Figuring out what kind of bag their customer would carry is always a fun study.
Are they more into fun pieces or working woman's handbags? Should the material be similar to the existing product, or provide a striking contrast? Does she like a shoulder strap or enjoy the frivolity of having a small statement bag to twirl around?
Then I take those loose sketches and turn them into more informative illustrations. Still hand-drawn. With them, I try to convey the material, and important information like closures and where and how the strap(s) will attach.
I'm also working on my digital illustration skills (currently have none to speak of), so creating these illustrations in Adobe Illustrator is the next great learning curve.
Sew, sew, sew
Theeeeen, I'll pick one to construct. THE FUN PART! Even though the genesis of this project was the idea that I wouldn't have to make anything, so I had the freedom to design ANYTHING, I still really enjoy working with my hands. There are few better feelings in the world than creating something from scratch. (Oh!! and forgetting about it, then finding it months or years later and looking at it with new eyes. It's like watching your grown children get their Doctorate degrees after taking time off to raise a family. or something like that.)
It's been a fun way to spend my evenings.
I, being a person that has to work, eat, sleep and see friends, am giving myself ample time to work on these projects. but! sharing the process as I go along. So here (up there!) is the first moodboard for my friend Sanetra's brand Unravel Co, a line of beautiful handmade baskets.
A sustainable brand founded June 2017 to serve, help others and develop fruitful relationships through design and collaboration. Our mission is to preserve traditional craftsmanship and develop sustainable areas of life for generations to come.