Now our new norm dust has settled, or is settling (vaccine permitted), and life would actually be strange without scheduling a Zoom call or working from home. We thought we would talk about what's just happened the past year as we turn the new leaf of the new year.
How Does a Wicker Bag Brand Design for a Pandemic
Get to know a little bit about our designer Alex and his take on how COVID-19 led to Wicker Wings (re)done.
Has it really been a year? Short answer: yes.
You’re probably thinking there wasn’t that much to do in between watching Netflix, trips to the supermarket and continuously attempt that banana loaf we’re so terrible at (thank god for Instagram filters). But as we sat down to think, we achieved more than what we actually thought and one of the things was our ability to adapt our design. We thought we would start our 2021 Stories by Wicker Wings with our designer Alex, who can share how design had to pivot to the new norm.
We usually work 6 months in advance in terms of design, but as the world was reaching for a lot less and literally nowhere to go other than restocking your main essentials, Wicker Wings needed to design something for the now, something that is a little outside of Wicker Wings but still within the brand.
Get to know a little bit about Alex and how COVID led to Wicker Wings (re)done:
WHAT IS YOUR NAME? AND WHAT DO YOU DO?
Hi! I am Alex and I am a designer and content creator for Wicker Wings.
WE'RE NOW IN OUR THIRD NATIONAL LOCKDOWN, HOW YOU FEELING?
Being in a second lockdown now I feel a little bit out of touch with everything again. However, I think it is the best thing to do right now.
WICKER WINGS IS ALL ABOUT WICKER AND WEAVE, WHY (RE)DONE?
Before I started at Wicker Wings, the team were always thinking about the sustainability of our production and the were always wanting to recreate small leather objects out of the surplus leather left over from the production of our handbags; it was just never fully realised.
If you’ve followed us for over a year, you will know we launched a cardholder out of this surplus before, but it just wasn’t 100%, the design or something just wasn’t right. But as COVID-19 hit, and we were reaching for a lot less, we spotted an opportunity to create something we knew our women wanted and had the time to launch it in a meaningful way. (re)done is a sustainability project that creates small leather accessories out of surplus leather to cater for the needs now.
I was so lucky to be part of the team that brought Wicker Wings (re)done into life, from the brand name to creating the logo; I felt that I could see the re-done project from a complete 360° angle. I think it has been one of the most fun projects I’ve worked on at Wicker Wings.
HOW LONG WAS THE TURN AROUND FOR (RE)DONE? FROM IDEA TO LAUNCH?
Usually we spend around 6 months developing and sampling products but for (re)done I think it took around 2 and a half weeks. We had designs and patterns drawn out by the 27th October and we fully launched with everything by 12th November. This was just over 2 weeks to manufacture the product, shoot ECOM images, outfit images and launch a campaign video; all shot and done in house by just the 5 of us - I am so proud of the team!
HOW DID YOU FIND DESIGNING SMALL LEATHER ACCESSORIES, COMPARED TO DESIGNING WICKER BAGS?
Compared to wicker bags leather accessories is a completely different ball game, it’s a completely different material so the way I had to design was a different challenge in itself! I loved being able to create smaller accessories that could be involved a lot more in our customers minds, I had to think about their love for beautiful style but make practical pieces you can take anywhere.
HOW DID YOU GET INTO DESIGN?
It goes all the way back when I use to make outfits for my niece and my dog actually, haha: I was always creating. I loved fashion, the world of fashion, the photoshoots and what inspires a collection. At Wicker Wings, it goes deeper than just designer though, being a part of a small team you have a lot of responsibilities.
I studied mainly in womenswear and ready to wear, but never thought about accessories, until the opportunity presented itself. In terms of design, Wicker Wings is a different level, because it’s not just handbags, it’s rattan handbags, which is a double edged sword because you only have the use of certain natural materials; which a beautiful thing in itself.
More thought has to go into designing with weave being integral to to the product. So many other things to consider for this natural material; the width, sizing, what wicker to use, how the rattan going to take to certain things.
Wicker Wings is a different level, because it's not just handbags, it's wicker and rattan handbags, which is a double edged sword as you only have the use of certain natural materials that all have individual characteristics you have to work with.
HOW HAS THE "NEW NORM" CHANGED YOUR DESIGN PROCESS?
The new normal has changed my design process massively, it goes beyond design because I have to think about what people need now and how our products can make peoples lives that little bit easier without compromising on style.
It’s a little different to let’s say, for example an apparel company who can cater to loungewear or activewear, but to incorporate a wicker handbag brand into our women's new norm, well that’s a completely different challenge but I think (re)done is doing that.
HOW DO YOU SEE (RE)DONE DEVELOPING?
Wicker Wings has always believed in slow fashion and I do too. Personally I like to buy pre-owned or I will buy staple wardrobe pieces I know I will wear 100 times over. Our goal with (re)done is to “reimagine the 15%” of surplus leather, (re)done will develop until we are at 0% surplus leather. But for sure, we’ll have fun doing it together! I’m excited!
Quick fire questions:
FAVOURITE PRODUCT FROM THE FIRST (RE)DONE COLLECTION?
The phone pouch/lanyard, because I do not leave the house without it at the moment.
FAVOURITE WICKER WINGS BAG?
I'm reaching for my Cream Micro Babing a lot more during lockdown. With a lot less to carry I can throw it over my shoulder.
WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY WATCHING?
I’m currently watching a docu-series on Anne Boleyn as I have an adoration for English History.
WHAT ARE YOU LISTENING TO AT THE MOMENT?
A bit of a mixed bag really I've been listening to Orchestra, Man Eater by Hall & Oats and a lot of AMSR when I’m working too!
FAVOURITE PART OF YOUR JOB?
I love my role here at Wicker Wings I get to have such huge freedom and get to touch all points of the brand, whether that’s shooting campaigns or designing a brand-new collection.
It may be cliche to say but I have been welcomed into the family with huge open arms, we get to chat and catch up every day but we all work as a team to create beautiful pieces that get to see places all over the globe! It’s so rewarding.