Fashion design brand FINELL, have designed AXIS, which is their first design in their handbag collection.
Senior Designer, Maddy Busch and CEO/Chief Designer, Rebecca Finell, have shared with us their thoughts about designing the bag.
This is the first handbag line Finell Co has created. Our backgrounds are in Industrial Design which we feel comes across in the design of these bags. As two female designers, we were frustrated by the handbag market which was flooded with chunky hardware and bags without form, making it hard to carry and access its contents. So we decided to take on the challenge of designing a bag line that paired fashion and function.
When designing the handbag line, we wanted the bags to be sculptural pieces that would move and change shape to the wearer and their contents inside. Origami inspired and supported this idea and we began to folding paper and building many mock ups.
We are starting with 5 styles of bags and additional accessories that each identify with their own unique function, for example, folding flat or popping open and shut. We spent a year dialing in how to get the structure of the facets to give the bag its form while still allowing the leather to flex and soften.
Watching the wear and articulation of each individual bag has been fascinating aspect of this project. A quick glance at any single bag can give you an idea of how the bag is used and the frequency of its use. Like any quality leather, it gains a distinction as it ages that new leather can’t match. Though we hadn’t anticipated it, the hard lines of the bags play well with the natural wear the bags acquire.
From the first sketches and iterations of the line, fashion and engineering went hand in hand. We didn’t make a decision on one aspect without the other in mind. Deciding details based on aesthetic and function were crucial in our development. We weren’t just throwing a zipper on a bag because it looked cool. We put a zipper there because it brought value to the bag’s function and its appearance.
Because the bags are so structural, we had to take a unique approach in design and construction. In reality, designing the bags was more an architectural exercise than a study purely in design. We realize this is often the heart of many cliched sentiments but our line really required we strike a solid balance between form and function. Neither could lead.
Photography by Ivan Alonso