First year BA (Hons) Cordwainers Bags and Accessories: Product Design and Innovation student Francesco Nenna was the winner of a recent collaborative industry project with YKK London Showroom.
YKK London Showroom challenged students to use zips in a new way with regards to accessories. The brief asked the aspiring designers to consider the relationship between form and function.
This was the first external project the students worked on and expectations from YKK were high as they awarded £1,100 of prize money to the winner and two joint runners up. The students were judged by Anna Stefaniak, YKK PR Executive Corporate Communications & Sabine Bourgeau, YKK London Showroom Manager. Francesco was the overall winner and received £500 in prize money, Sebastian Mendoza Gutierrez and Ellie Moore were joint second and were awarded £300 each.
Anna Stefaniak, YKK PR Executive Corporate Communications spoke about the students’ work after the show. She said, “It was difficult to make a decision because it is a very strong group. The winner was chosen for using a zipper in a functional and innovative way.”
Sabine Bourgeau, YKK London Showroom Manager, also found the judging process difficult because the standard of work was exceptional. She said,
It was a good collaboration considering it was the first time we worked on a collaborative project with a first year students. The level of work was overwhelming. We are dealing with small entities and trying to show how fashion design is meeting industrial design. We have more than 200 people working on new designs all over the world to support possibilities. Now the students know when they need it we will be there to support their activities. This direct contact between YKK and future designers will be profitable for both in the future, and the London Showroom is proud for having the opportunity to facilitate it.
We spoke to Francesco after the competition to hear more about his design, prize money and working with YKK.
Can you tell us a little bit about your fiendishly clever backpack and where the idea came from?
I would like people to view the world differently. Aspiring to invert the “unfashioned object”, my latest design deconstructs the use and placement of the ‘everyday’ zip, redesigning and repurposing it for a modern audience. I pulled design references from Italian futurism, constructivism, and Bauhaus craftwork, the creation exaggerates functional elements of bag design to improve the user experience in a way that has never been explored – or worn before.
What techniques and processes did you while producing the back?
The processes for the making of this bag includes classic Italian leather craftsmanship techniques which I have learned working with Italian craftsmen when I was younger. Some saddle making techniques and my first attempt in metal work which was extremely fun to do!
How does it feel winning 1st Prize and receiving feedback from YKK?
It is surreal because I just started university this year and I didn’t expect this amazing results from my first project. I’m very grateful to the university and YKK for organising this competition. It was extremely motivating to collaborate with the industry and the brief was very stimulating too.
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