Design-A-Bag Online Competition winner story ─ Sporty Bag
Marc Lin | 07 July 2016

My name is Marc, a Master’s graduate in Design and Technology of Fine Art, Parsons School of Design. Prior to that, I received my bachelor’s degree in Industrial Design, National Cheng Kung University, Taiwan. Although I did not get the opportunity to take any fashion courses during my studies , I had always been passionate about leather and therefore, I joined a relevant course at Lifelong Learning Centre and started my career of handbag design.

Looking back at  the past decade spent in New York, I found it somewhat impossible to fully integrate into the  white society so I decided to make my way back to Asia to develop my career. My experience in the Western society allowed me to understand the background of their designs. And when I came back to Asia, I realised that although there were numerous designs which resembled those in America or Europe, the concept behind was usually vague with no story.

Taiwan was once the manufacturing cluster for the global apparel industry with the textile industry being most the vibrant during 1930 – 40s. The country focused greatly on  production but lacking of design originality and heavily influenced by the west.

From the historical point of view, the entire Asian society has been rapidly westernised in the process of modernisation after the decline of Feudalism, as a result, Asian aesthetics transformation  has not taken place and remains at its state a century ago.

I then became very much interested in Asian culture, and started reading the great works of Asian philosophy such as Yijing (The Book of Changes), Laozi (Old Master) and The Analects and sharing my thoughts on my online blog. From these classic books I learnt about the core values of Asian philosophy – transformation and integration. With this in mind, I tried to avoid using formed patterns and designed with pure instincts.  I made use of abstract ideas developed from ancient books I read and transformed them into modern Chinese designs and with the help of my leather craftwork knowledge, I developed the concept of “transformable” bags.

The idea of my brand “GOURD” was inspired by the idea of “change” mentioned in  Yijing. I wanted to embrace this idea into my work and with the aim of conveying the Eastern philosophy of “transformation” in life. 

I learned about Design-A-Bag Competition through a  friend and in hopes of gaining more exposure and feedback  on my designs, I decided to enter the competition under the name “LHSR multifunctional bag”. I am grateful to the judges for granting me this precious opportunity to take part in this premium event. The Ceremony was fun and engaging . I had the chance to exchange business contacts with buyers from and Shenzhen H&M Bag Development Co Ltd as well as sharing my design concepts with them. I was very lucky to be selected as the winner of Sporty Bag category among all those brilliant designs. 

Fashion Access the trade fair is a large and informative platform, making it a must-attend event for companies who  wish to boost their business  and showcase their leathergoods collections. Looking into the future, I will design a collection of bags in different sizes for “GOURD”.

In the long run, I hope the brand will have a robust growth and I wish to put this fashion brand originated from the Asian Culture on the retail shelves as another option for the consumers.