design direction, product design + execution
2017 | MIXED MATERIALS
A conceptual collection designed with the adidas Y-3 aesthetic and consumer in mind. As a personal design challenge, I examined the brand's heritage and ethos and created a small collection from a very exploratory, hands-on approach.
The fusion of innovative design, sport functionality, fashion elegance and spotless craftsmanship are what set Y-3 product apart. I used this framework to guide my designs, focusing on creating unexpected solutions for the modern urban athlete.
From the creation of my own theme, to paper and fabric studies, mockups and a final sewn prototype, my goal was to use this theoretical design project to demonstrate not only my design approach but also how prototyping influences my final outcome.
The result is a collection of three bags that explore different sizes, shapes and purposes in the context of the Spring/Summer season: an iconic backpack whose details and patterning influenced the overall collection, an expandable duffel bag, and a transformable utility vest/bag hybrid.
Life for humanity is more uncertain than ever. Drastically changing political, environmental and social conditions will require us to be equipped and ready for anything at all times. How will we merge protection, versatility and mobility with comfort? How will this influence the gear we carry?
I wanted to take advantage of such an open brief and the freedom that comes along with that to explore materials outside the realm of bags. If protection and utilitarianism was part of my inspiration, the local hardware store seemed like an interesting place to begin searching for unexpected textures and trims.
I was extremely interested in the idea of protection and texture, and the use of coatings to create reinforcement or added fortification. A quick study below shows trims and fabrics with rubber applied in different ways: overlay, dip, and painted/printed.
One of the most iconic Y-3 elements is the way the adidas three stripes branding is integrated into the products. Rather than simply applying a graphic on a finished product, it is clear that they are part of the product creation process from the very start. With this in mind, I conducted different tests and experiments at the beginning in order to integrate them firmly into my concept.
In examining Yohji Yamamoto's design ethos, I was inspired by the use of tailoring, patterning and folds to create interesting, unexpected shapes. Instead of beginning with traditional 2D drawings, I started sketching with paper and folds, which yielded very interesting shapes that suggested silhouettes and functional details.
During my visit to the hardware store, I discovered a woven tubing that is intended to act as insulation and protection for hoses and wires. Its construction allows for expansion and elongation, which led to an expandable strap concept that could be used across a range of bags. Straps could adapt and change without any addtional materials or buckles.
Because I approach product design as a maker - and am fascinated by patterning and bag construction - I challenged myself to create a pattern that could be as simple as possible, limiting cutlines and the number of pattern pieces. Instead, folds and pleats transform an otherwise flat panel into a multifaceted backpack with functional side pockets.
Using this backpack as a creative driver for the collection, I isolated specific elements and experimented with how those would translate into different shapes, functions and silhouettes.