Who doesn’t love a Saffiano leather bag? And a Kurt Geiger one at that? That’s a hypothetical question of course, these textured leather totes have helped contribute to blockbusting sales for Kurt Geiger, thanks to their classic proportions, agreeable price and durability. (Ever seen a scruffy looking one? Me neither.) To celebrate our love for the Saffiano tote and coincide with Valentine’s Day, Kurt Geiger has come up with a design project with the second year BA accessory design students at Cordwainers at London College Of Fashion. The challenge? To reinterpret the classic Saffiano tote and capture the spirit of Kurt Geiger’s hashtag, #FromLondonWithLove.
Cordwainers is of course, famous for producing some of our most influential footwear and accessory designers, from eighties legend John Moore to current LFW darling Sophia Webster. Kurt Geiger has been working closely with the course on a 3-year collaboration supporting students with design projects, sponsorships and paid work placements.
Back in November I was asked to come on board to help judge the #FromLondonWithLove project, alongside Kurt Geiger’s creative director, Rebecca Farrar-Hockley. We whittled down the initial designs to five, studying the original concepts and techniques and weighing up the ambitious ideas with considerations such as practicality (will this appliqué catch on clothes?) and brand appropriateness (is this too conceptual for the Kurt Geiger customer?).
I love looking at design concepts, especially ones like these where students were encouraged to use their creative flair. From painted flowers, to complex embroidery and laser-cut appliqué, the students pushed their ideas to translate the brief into something personal and different. Here are some of my pictures from our first day of judging…
Fast forward several weeks and the students unveiled their finished creations to us at the Cordwainers design workshops in east London. The imagination and problem solving that has gone into these is astonishing! I love how different each design is and how far the students pushed their technical thinking. To succeed as a designer I really think you have to be willing to go as far as you can with your ideas.
We chose three winners to receive the sponsorship prize from Kurt Geiger. Congratulations Rachel Doerk for the ‘My Love Inside Out’ bag with its inside-outside lining, Adelaide Le Gras for her poetic appliquéd heart petals design, and Isabella Kerovirta for the feel-good fringed bag (look closely, the fringing is printed with empowering slogans).
But the good news is that all five finished bags are going on display (today!) and can be won.
To win a bag, just follow @Kurtgeiger on Instagram, repost the bag of your choice and – the important bit – tag it #FromLondonWithLove. To get a closer look at the bags, head to Kurt Geiger in Portobello Road, where they’re being displayed. The winner will be announced on Valentine’s day.
ABOVE: First prize winner Rachel Doerk’s ‘My Love Inside Out’ bag has a stencilled white leather cover that can be tucked inside for a more classic look, in effect giving you two bags for the price of one.
ABOVE: Adelaide Le Gras won the second prize for her appliquéd design using laser cut heart-shaped ‘petals’ stitched onto one side of the bag. This labour-intensive process involved plenty of trial and error but I loved Adelaine’s subtle and personal approach to the brief, which was “inspired by the elegance and sobriety of Kurt Geiger”.
ABOVE: Third prize winner Isabella Kerovirta’s feel-good fringed bag is a great conversation piece. The fringing is printed with empowering slogans such as “The question isn’t who’s going to let me, it’s who’s going to stop me”…
ABOVE: Anastasija Terauda used painted flowers to represent ‘spring’ rather than lovey-dovey Valentine’s day for her Saffiano design.
ABOVE: Andrea Fernandez Herrero’s pixellated arms represent the love between London and another city. The striking graphic heart is embroidered onto a leather panel then attached to the outside of the bag.
WORDS: Navaz Batliwalla/Disneyrollergirl
Photography: Maja Smiejkowska and Navaz Batliwalla
*THIS IS A SPONSORED POST IN ASSOCIATION WITH KURT GEIGER