Behind the scenes: designing Adjustus V

Behind the scenes: designing Adjustus V

I’m still completely overwhelmed to think I’ve designed a range of bags.Two years ago, these bags were just pencil sketches and now I’m grateful to be able to say people are walking around with my Adjustus V designs over their arm!

As with many adventures in life, it is very difficult to predict how the journey will evolve, but I’ve made it this far and would love to share with you a little insight into the process I’ve been through designing Adjustus V.

Firstly, I should point out that I like fashion, but I am not a slave to fashion. I am also not a designer by trade. I admire the designs and trends that come through each season, but I like a certain style: timeless and classic, which forms the basis of the range.

With this concept in my mind, I visited various fashion shows, retail and trade exhibitions to do my research. I read fashion magazines: Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar etc. and spoke with friends and family to gauge their reaction. I am fortunate to have some opinionated friends, who I can always rely on to give me clear, constructive feedback on my designs! I have said it before, I wholeheartedly design with the end consumer in mind, whether that person needs something simple and straightforward, something that will suit their sporty lifestyle, something to fit everything in or someone who needs versatility with their bag.

The process of designing the bags has been quite fluid. Sometimes I’ve made a toile design – a mock up of the bag using a cheaper fabric, sometimes I’ve produced sketches and cut-out paper patterns and sometimes both. It often depends on the complexity of the design. The pattern will be delivered to the factory, where I will work with them to decide on the fabric for each bag. It is important to ensure the weight of the fabric is suitable for the type of bag you are designing. With various adjustments, this process can take a day or two.

With the prototypes made, you are able to get a much clearer picture of how the finished article will look. At this stage, inevitably, there will be a few tweaks: some extra stitching, adjusting the position of the handles, the straps and the placement of zips etc. Sometimes the changes are more drastic! Once, I got to this stage designing a washbag and it became apparent the bag would be absolutely perfect as a mid-sized handbag!

I see bags as investment pieces, therefore my philosophy is to create items that will stand the test of time: being strong and durable as well as being stylish and practical. To that end, the colours I’ve chosen for the range are classic and timeless, colours that will compliment a smart or casual outfit, across a broad demographic. Fashion is wonderful and beautiful and useful for overall guidance, but I wanted a range of bags that wouldn’t look out of place regardless of ‘trends’. What’s more, our method of production – handlooming – takes a huge amount of skill and time, therefore it would go against my principles to choose a colour fabric just for one season.

Once the bags have been produced, it’s onto the business side of things, working out how to price the bags and how to market them. With Adjustus V bags, the fabric is handloomed, which makes them quite unique and therefore difficult to compare like-for-like with the rest of the market (being produced en-mass by a machine). However, I did my research and decided on a price point that reflected the craftsmanship of the method of hand-production.

Next, I packed up my wares and started small, taking my bags into local retailers who I felt might like to stock them. This was a good learning curve for me as I was able to gather feedback from customers and store owners. At the same time, I attended a trade show at London Olympia called Top Drawer, which is an opportunity to showcase the range to buyers.

Lastly, it’s down to this, what you’re reading now! Blogging, creating newsletters, creating content for social media and the website: marketing Adjustus V! Marketing feels like an untamed beast, with so many possibilities for promoting your brand, but equally the competition, with so much content out there, is intense! By comparison, designing the bags is definitely the easy part!

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