Re-birthed fashion handbags as a collaborative design project

08 Mar.,2023


The company has a group of cooperation teams engaged in the Pu Leather Handbags industry for many years, with dedication, innovation spirit and service awareness, and has established a sound quality control and management system to ensure product quality.

Collaborative design project with sustainable fashion

Shaffer (2007) defined the notion of community of practice to focus on the co-production of design work among instructors and students, as exercised within the studio. It is important to comprehend the ways in which epistemological understanding and design knowledge are constituted through social interactions within the disciplinary and institutional context of the academic design studio. Studio classrooms have many different manifestations, but all share common elements. They involve longer but fewer class sessions with focused, intense, student activity such as an interactive classroom that promotes holistic skills, including thinking, inquiry, creativity, and reflection by students, frequently involving peer review and critiquing. A properly managed studio classroom can provide a quintessential active and cooperative learning environment (Perkins 2005).

Bye (2010) stresses that apparel designers of the future must be strong team members, communicators, and problem solvers—all skills that problem solving enhances. Students locate appropriate information and resources to solve a problem, with the instructor serving in an advisory capacity throughout the process. Students are responsible for selecting the best solution and presenting the findings to support their decision (Torp and Sage 2002; Gam and Banning 2011).

The sustainability story of one leading manufacturer of industrial packaging systems illustrates the importance of business model innovation. Their sustainability agenda has become central to the company’s overall business operations and strategy, and top management pays attention to sustainability. A key agenda item is to approach sustainability as a collaboration that identifies new business opportunities connected with reconditioning and extending the life of a major product line—steel and plastic drums (Kiron et al. 2013). However, to accomplish this, participants must be willing to cooperate with one another so that an optimal collaborative effort is provided for sustainable building projects (Bynum et al. 2012). When sustainability-oriented collaboration takes place, a change occurs in the business model, and the combination is strongly correlated with sustainability-based profits (Kiron et al. 2013).

The collaborative nature of the design studio was considered important for developing a productive working environment and for team building. This included emphasis on social development and a low stress, fun environment (de los Angeles Constantino-Gonzalez et al. 2016).

Development of the process for re-birth

Re-birth design has been much used in the apparel industry. Lee and DeLong (2016a) analysed successful reverse design at the manufacturing level with an apparel company willing to collaborate using their unsold stock. Five levels of re-birth design were outlined in the process of redesigning products from a company’s inventory. Re-birth level 1 involved changes in subsidiary materials or the addition or removal of embellishments. The main reason for poor sales determined in level 1 products may be weak brand image or the absence of details that differentiate an existing product from other brands, details that may increase the attractiveness of a product when worn. At level 2, changes in pattern or material characteristics were applied to the relevant stock item to enhance its practicality or functionality. At level 3, part of an existing design was combined with a different material to create a new design, simultaneously enhancing both its practicality and brand image. Level 4 involved taking the product apart completely and recreating it into a new design, thereby recreating stock from different brands using recombined designs to fit the new design concept. For example, men’s suits became long vests for women; jackets were made from tent materials and creative uses were found using the back pockets of denim jeans. Thus, designs remained up to date despite their origin and, in fact, became one-of-a-kind items. Finally, re-birth level 5 was the category in which products were taken apart to become the raw material for fashion items other than clothes, i.e. a jacket becomes a purse, a padded jacket, or a bag. With each level, the degree of transformation increased, along with the skills needed in the redesign process. To be successful, the key point discovered in this re-birth project was to enhance the brand’s concept and image, and increase the practicality of products that fit the release period, product sales period, and consumer needs (Lee and DeLong 2016a).

One re-birth design study by Lee and DeLong (2016c), conducted as collaborative design work between a fashion school and fashion company, applied a design process model (Lee and DeLong 2016b), involving (1) pre-design, (2) design development, and (3) design evaluation for re-birth design development. The model was applied over 15 weeks. After learning the proper methods for examining resources and the rudiments of collaborative product design with the company, students individually researched re-birth design opportunities. They participated in the re-birth design process involving collaborative design work between the company and the studio class. In the re-birth design project, Lee and DeLong (2016c) have suggested that students participated in the re-birth design process by developing creative ideas and designing development models for sustainable design in their actual design classes. This helped design students to understand consumer needs and the concepts and distribution process of the relevant brands through collaborative work with the fashion companies.

Re-birth fashion bags as a collaborative recreation in a sustainable innovation concept

Historically, the fashion Handbag has partly been determined by its function, with some features remaining constant, such as a place for money, cosmetics, keys, handkerchief, diary, note pad, pencil, and even printed literature such as a novel or commercial pocket book. Riding in a car in the early 20th century, a passenger could be wrapped in a blanket wearing a cap or veil, and sheltered under thick goggles; often, the fashionable passenger held a flat Morocco leather bag in her arms. Its simple form, in varying sizes, stored readily available items: gloves, stole, vials. This was the prelude to the handbag and fashion bag, which flourished in the 20th and 21st centuries (Louis Vuitton 2017). After World War I, women needed handbags for utility purposes because they increasingly occupied jobs outside the home. In the 20th century, the fashion bag took on both utility and fashion; utilitarian and fashionable bags became known worldwide. In the 1930s, the clutch bag was very popular and during and after World War II, a shoulder bag was functional, first as part of the military, and later gaining widespread popularity. In the 1970s, a trend of the hippy style was to incorporate various fabric patches and twisted thread bags; in the 1980s, sports bags were popular; and by the 1990s, the fashion handbag was being designed to consider both ergonomics and function (Jeon 2005).

The handbags designed and manufactured by the company collaborators are both functional and fashionable. The materials used are leather, canvas, sheepskin, tiger skin, crocodile skin, alligator skin, rabbit hair, and so on. They have provided many types of stocked handbags such as clutch bag, wristlet bag, baguette bag, flap bag, tote bag, envelope bag, fringe bag, shoulder bag, doctor bag, convertible bag, barrel bag, canteen bag, bucket bag, hobo bag, satchel bag, back bag, and so on. This collaborative handbag brand as re-creation in sustainable innovation is one of the prestige fashion bags in South Korea and pursues simplicity, timeless chic, and exquisite colour in its aesthetic concept as a modern, luxurious, and new class.

A handbag design slated for re-birth can follow a similar collaboration process and the entire life cycle of the product is vital in both instances (Lee and DeLong 2016c, 2018). However, there are some important differences from the apparel previously slated for re-birth. For example, the materials of the fashion handbag are harder to redesign because they are more rigid in structure and sometimes less resilient and thus more difficult to reuse. Fashion handbags going through re-birth design are one type of bag used for upcycling. Wang (2014) characterised the types of waste materials used in upcycling for various types of bags: (1) textiles such as truck covers, placards, signboards, remnants of cloth, clothes, military uniforms, blankets, tents, parachutes, fire hoses, seat belts, car sheets, plane seats, and coffee sacks; (2) plastic including doggie bags and plastic bags; (3) leather such as old leather garments, remnants of leather shoes, a belt, car sheets, waste furniture, and gymnastic gear; (4) paper such as magazines, catalogues, and coated newspapers; (5) tires such as inner tubes that are developed into glossy high quality leather-like fabrics (Wang 2014).

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