A capsule collection of 5 circular bags designed from the start with the second generation in mind. The pattern of each product can be transformed into a new bag, thereby saving resources and making the most of valuable materials.
The partnership will spread the circular economy mindset & stimulate similar initiatives by collaborating with a small bags crafter in Greece, supporting the creation of decent employment opportunities in a country that is recovering from an economic crisis.
The idea for the Circular Bags project came from the desire to connect and integrate the two roles that I have been playing in the fashion industry – as a designer and as an expert in circularity and sustainability.
1) As a designer I always focus on creating products that allow users to build an emotional connection with products that reflect their personal values and beliefs.
2) As an advisor for sustainability strategies for fashion and textile companies, I am driven by the vision of disrupting the status quo of standard short-term thinking that destroys our planet and harms people on an everyday basis.
I was looking for an opportunity to organically integrate those two sides of my identity for some time. Leather bags have fascinated me as a consumer as long as I can remember, but I always struggled with the idea that such a valuable product does not really align with the fast paced trends in fashion consumption. I recognized the opportunity in the longevity that leather offers and wanted to explore how this quality can be merged with the concept of
continuous transformation of consumer preferences and fashion trends which seemed to be a contradiction at first glance. The challenge had begun!
THE BIRTH OF THE PROJECT:
Once the general idea of the project was born, I narrowed down the concept to integrate two key elements:
1) Coming from the perspective of enhancing responsible consumption instead of contributing to endless expansions of fashion landfills, I decided to focus on the idea of an “infinite emotional connection to high value products“. The product model was created to mirror the concept of an ever-evolving long-term relationship that constantly reinvents itself and hence stays fresh and exciting throughout your life.
2) Coming from the perspective of circular production strategies, I decided to operationalize “second life patterns” as an innovative way to create patterns that are not meant to fit just one but instead an endless number of products. The main motivation is to extend the lifecycle of original high-value natural resources beyond their first use.
I was convinced from the beginning of the project that effectively integrating these two innovations would contribute to a significant shift in the environmental and social impact of leather products, while at the same time ensuring economic viability of the product. In particular, I felt responsible to make a concrete contribution to the big question of how the fashion industry can become an agent for ensuring that the global climate targets can be met instead of continuously worsening its environmental footprint. I am convinced that by creating this concrete and viable concept, which considers both the user and the creator of fashion products, I can maximise my positive contribution to the United Nations SDG 12 (Sustainable Production and Consumption). My objective is not to simply create one sustainable product, but to educate consumers by proposing an exciting new way of consuming handbags more consciously that is characterized by a higher level of responsibility for the planet.
THE CREATIVE PROCESS:
With the vision of creating a bag that could prolong the life/usage of the original input, I started by studying and exploring geometric shapes that would allow me to “unfold” other products from the first product. On the search for patterns that are suitable for multiple products I dove deep into researching sacred geometry and mathematical forms. This study led me to create a strategy that I called “Second Life Patterns”, meaning that from the very beginning each bag was designed to serve as a material for other designs.
In the design process, I also considered using alternative resources, e.g. pinapple fiber, and investigated this innovative material in detail and developed a full prototype on that basis. I came to the conclusion that the durability and performance would not allow me to implement my vision without making large compromises in terms of the infinite lifespan of the material.
Through this creative process it became clear that leather would be the perfect material since it offers a life time durability and it is biodegradable at the very end of the use cycles.
The main challenges I faced were a personal health emergency during the Worth program that required me to postpone the finalization of the project. In addition, the COVID-19 pandemic kicked in and made it impossible for me to visit my collaborator and work together in person. Especially the choice of color palettes became very difficult for this reason.
Beyond these fundamental challenges, it also proved extremely difficult to identify suitable glue and other small components of the bag that would not compromise the design concept.
It felt all the more rewarding to finally see my vision implemented and adore the amazing newly born circular bags. What a journey that ultimately proved the true WORTH of this experience.
I was surrounded by an incredible team. My project partner Movex is a company that has absolutely experience in luxury bags. Assaad my mentor is a cutting-edge fashion professional, creative and innovative. And Daniel Perez is a fantastic marketing specialist.
Brainstorming with them was an incredibly rich process. They helped me to see beyond the conventional solutions and find my uniqueness. I wish I have had more time to collaborate together, and even have a full day of work with all of them in the same room!
It is absolutely amazing to work with professionals that are true experts in their field and are willing to share their visions and ideas in a creative process that cuts across borders, cultures and technical backgrounds to give life to innovative solutions that make the world a better place! I also believe that the collaboration has initiated a process of experimentation and collective learning for everyone involved in the circular bags project.
My vision for the circular bags project is not to simply produce and sell the bags. I see two alternative pathways to use the bags as a starting point for something bigger:
1) I want to market the circular bags project as a in-depth concept for fashion brands that want to develop circular leather products in a highly innovative and unique manner. Ideally, I can identify a brand that wants to take the project as a starting point to develop a new collection or product line that is based on the circular strategy that I applied.
2) I want to use the design project as a real-life case study for my work as a circular fashion and sustainability expert. The project will be applied in my advisory work for companies to illustrate that circular design strategies can be implemented without compromising and to encourage them to develop their own products following similar approaches. I will also apply the case study in my educational/teaching as well as research work on circular fashion to serve as a successful example that students and practitioners can learn from.
It is absolutely amazing to work with professionals that are true experts in their field and are willing to share their visions and ideas in a creative process that cuts across borders, cultures and technical backgrounds to give life to innovative solutions that make the world a better place! By sharing the design and production journey with likeminded people, I was able to expand my knowledge and see beyond my own limitations. I also believe that the
collaboration has initiated a process of experimentation and collective learning for everyone involved in the circular bags project.
Berlin-based fashion designer focused on sustainable materials and circular products. She applies holistic strategies that integrate sustainable approaches to supply chain management, product design and business planning.
She has a master in Sustainability in Fashion from University of Arts Esmod Berlin and BA in Fashion Design.
- Larissa Roviezzo
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