Beginners' Mind, Shoshin, 初心

Posted on April 03, 2014 by Sabrina Zeng | 0 Comments

A friend of mine wanted to write an article about my bags from the leather/character angle. To better understand the design process, she sent me 8 questions with 12 question marks. 

I am a master of the art of procrastination (If you have read the book from John Perry you know what I am talking about). So after putting this project on the side for a while, I started to instagram some leather/texture for self-motivation early this week, but I still could not write anything. 

I had many Whys when I just started the line in 2012. I was still in the "merchandising/marketing" mindset, and I even did a questionnaire survey plus focus group during the Gemini Camera Tote design process. It was amazing but the final product...I don't like it. I actually hate it, honestly.

Then I started to let it go, to simply follow my intuition. I didn't have a traditional fashion design education, so for me it's been learning, and trial and error. I am like a child painting on a white canvas, with a beginner's mind. I work with pleats & leather masters, the artisans who have been working in their fields for more than 30 years. I  challenge them with "stupid" questions/requests but it turns out wonderful things. 

So my answer to my friend's questions-- Design is like connecting dots, and I use intuition and common sense as my guidance. If I find a leather skin that I love after touching it, and I can afford it, I will buy it. If I don't love it even though it's cheap, I won't buy it. If I love it, but I can't afford it that time or I can't see any potential to use it, I won't buy it. It's that simple, which applies to other things as well, and the rest you read is for marketing purpose. :)

10014 Infinity Power Shoulder Bag (black) in Italian smooth calfskin and buttery cow leather

Sustainable sourced Italian smooth calfskin -- Developed by a leading Italian tannery, this calfskin is a young hide, soft, malleable and beautifully smooth to the touch. Produced in Italy means that the leathers have to comply with Italy’s very strict anti-pollution legislation. 

Italian vegetal textured lambskin --I have worked closely with a wonderful Italian tannery to develop this lambskin. The skins are treated with vegetable tanning extracts. A supple and luxurious leather makes you feel pampered on the road, while the nature grain of the skin makes each piece unique.

Sustainable sourced luxury buttery cow leather -- A full grain, naked Agentinian skin with butter-soft hand feel, produced in a ISO-14001 Certified tannery. This Certification is an International Standard established to distinguish tanneries that document and manage their operations to minimize the impact on the environment. It's a luxurious leather that ages beautifully, and each hide is distinctive and unique. 

Left: 10038 Infinity Departure Tote (black) in Italian vegetal textured lambskin and buttery cow leather

Right: 10003 Infinity Power Tote (black) in buttery cow leather

P.S.- Zen Mind, Beginners' mind is a book by the late Shunryu Suzuki. It's actually fun to read it. Read or download it here

Posted in Design, The Way


Creating yourself is a beautiful thing

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