Three designers from BA (Hons) Cordwainers Fashion Bags and Accessories: Product Design and Innovation have created handbags to be sold at The Bag Ladies Charity Auction to raise money for the British Association of Adoption and Fostering (BAAF).
The second year students, Sienna McNiven, Isabella Kerovirta and Max Cunningham will see their handbags sold at the charity auction on Wednesday 1st July. LCF News caught up with them to find out a bit more about their designs and inspirations.
LCF News: So please introduce yourselves and your bag
Sienna: I am Sienna McNiven, I am from Hertfordshire and I study Accessory Design. My design is The Mardi Bag.
Isabella: My name is Isabella Kerovirta. I’m from Sweden, Stockholm and I study Accessory Design. I have designed The Bucket Briefcase.
Max: I am Max Cunningham, I am from Lewisham in South East London and I study Accessory Design and my bag is the Curved Coloured Tote.
LCF News: Can you tell me something unexpected about yourself?
Sienna: This is probably the first bag that I have completed that actually went right! I am so happy that someone will get a nice bag.
Max: I’m a huge Celine Dion fan, I have 144 of her songs on my iPod.
LCF News: Can you talk us through your bag design?
Sienna: The bag is made in white leather with an Italian calf skin lining and a cotton fringing on the bag. It is supposed to be a bag for the office. You can fit your iPad and A4 paper into it. Personally I would not wear a plain bag to an office because, you’ve got to wear something fun! It is a summer bag and it is inspired by summer Rue de Mardi. It reminds me of the Riviera. The inside pocket comes out as a second purse or small bag. It is smart but chic.
Isabella: This bag is very easily worn because of the cut bottom, it is designed to sit very nicely on your body and the handle is big enough for you to have it on your arm. I like blurring the boundaries between accessories for men and women, I like to design very masculine women accessories and a bit more feminine mens accessories. I used a very nice matte brown chrome leather that will bleach if you touch it and when you wear it. It will change colour eventually, which I really like because I like that a bag changes with its user and over time. I decide to do a purple lining because it matched the brown and it is quite feminine. There is a pocket inside, every woman needs a pocket in her bag, and I also added a little hook for your keys so you can find them easily. The bag has also a longer strap that is changeable in length. So you can wear it across body or just on one shoulder.
Max: For the bag I wanted to design something that was commercially viable, the consumer at the event is unlikely to want something too avant-garde, I took her to be someone that appreciates modern design features, but nothing that is too dramatic. I used a lot of colour in the bag so that the consumer can match it easily with items in her wardrobe, it can either blend with an outfit, or contrast to it. I wanted to go for really supple good quality leathers, to give it a refined finish, the bag is even lined in suede.
LCF News: Who is this bag for?
Sienna: This bag is for someone who works in an office so it fits all your essentials into it. It is for someone who wants a statement piece; you shouldn’t have to substitute style for practicality!
Isabella:This bag is designed for a businesswoman who needs something that can be easily worn every day. I wanted to do a briefcase bag, so I designed it with a bucket bottom, hence calling it The Bucket Briefcase.
LCF News: What do you love the most about accessories and making accessories?
Sienna: I literally love it so much! I am so excited and want to start a business already. This is my favourite bag that I have made so far. I’ve got ideas for creating it in other colours and at different scales. I am already looking at factories as I would really like to have my bags produced. But designing and making accessories in general it doesn’t seem like a job to me because I love it!
Isabella: Accessories is a very broad word but my main focus is handbags. I’ve always loved bags and can’t really tell you why. I’ve always been obsessed about bags and I started doing it for fun, just as a side thing, and then I decided to study it. What I love most about it is making! I do not design show pieces that will stand out on a shelf. My designs need to be very smart and have a clear purpose. What I love about it is just making bags that can fix everyday problems or help somebody in their everyday life. I try to go for a minimalistic look a bit. People say I am Scandinavian designer for a reason. So very minimalistic, very clear and unisex.
Max: I was really honored to be picked for the project, it’s been a pretty tough journey, I put as much effort into this than I would in a term’s project as I knew someone has to wear it. I feel really pleased with what I have made and hope that it raises a decent amount of money for the charity.
LCF News: How does it feel to be part of BAAF charity project?
Sienna: It is really exciting. I am so glad that my design got chosen for the auction. The fact that the charity is BAAF which is British Association for Adoption and Fostering is very personal for me. My auntie gives her life to children. She is actually about to foster another two children. She has adopted two for her own. So it is a nice charity and I feel kind of personal for me.
Isabella: It feels really good. I am referred to as a mature student because I am 24, not that mature really! I had been working for 3 years before I came here to study. I love to give back and I always gave to charities every month when I had a job. When this charity project came up I just felt like, “Yeah! I want to be a part of it! I want to give back with what I can do!” I can make bags and I can give back that way because I can’t give money at the moment. It is a very good cause and I am very proud and happy to be part of it and be able to give back in any way I can.
Max: I was really honoured to be picked for the project, it’s been a pretty tough journey, I put more effort into this than I would in a terms project as I knew someone has to wear it. I feel really pleased with what I have made and hope that it raises a decent amount of money for the charity.
The Bag Ladies Charity auction takes place on Wednesday 1st July. To buy tickets for this event and a chance to get your hands on a one-of-a-kind handbag, please visit BAAF’s website.
Interview by Karina Pinkowska
Photography by Wanda Martin