After gaining a BA (Hons) in fashion design and marketing at Newcastle Polytechnic back in 1989, Anita wanted to give something back to her former University now called Northumbria University. She worked with Sarah Walton, programme leader, to develop a competition for final year students to design a new bag for SageBrown.
Research into SageBrown as a brand, their customers and competitors. Develop a design concept that includes design research, mood, colour and details for a new SageBrown bag. Show the development of your design through drawing. Remember that scale is crucial in accessories design, so you may want to mock-up your design in paper/card/fabric to get a sense of the key dimensions. Produce a final illustration and technical specification of your design including all details, interiors, chosen fabrication and key measurements. In keeping with the brands established ranges your bag can be named after you as the designer! (You should include in your design work how you would promote this bag in the form of instore ticketing and labelling so that it stands out from the current range showing Your Name x SageBrown ). Finally, you should propose a marketing strategy for your design. How will it be promoted via social media and email? How will it be styled as part of your line-up? How will your design offer something new to the SageBrown customer?
This brief was given to students in June 2021 so that ideas could be formulated in the summer holidays. Six students took on the challenge of this competition and Anita met the students via Zoom on key dates to discuss the students ideas and guide them along the way.
Anita added, “The standard of work and the students professionalism throughout this competition has been outstanding. All students conducted thorough research before developing designs and finalising their own design concepts. The standard of work from research and illustration to scaled mock and marketing ideas was very impressive and I felt proud of each and every student for their hard work and dedication.”
In February 2022, the designs of Bethany Oakey and Lacie Spoors were chosen to be made by SageBrown’s very own master craftsman based in Turkey. SageBrown has their own atelier, a small family business who continue to pass down their craft to the next generation. Traditional techniques that have been refined over decades are still in use by the artisans today and the continue to strive towards being as sustainable and ethical as possible. They are able to closely monitor all aspects of the manufacturing process whilst protecting the leather craft industry.
Both designs were very different. Bethany was inspired by vintage tool bags and designed a versatile stylish bag for men who commute to work. Branded Miko, her bag has detachable straps to make into a rucksack or messenger bag as well as being a briefcase in 2 tone earthy colours with a stunning orange lining.
Both students were able to use their designs in their final shows in May and it is the hope that with a few refinements they will be put into production and onto the shop floor.
Also, Bethany has been shortlisted for the Graduate Fashion Week Accessories Award and is in the top 12 from hundreds of student nominations. She has to present her design to judges to see if it’s selected as a finalist and even a winner.