⟨ Misc ⟩

Strike against Mass Production

JOSHU+VELA

Words / Phaedrus Lam
Translation / Fanny Chan

這大概是每個時裝系畢業生,都曾經有過的疑惑,明明設計靈感信手拈來,畫起草圖也絲毫沒有難度,但總無法親手做出一件完整的衣服。誠然當生產分工現象逐成常態,在這年頭要獨立製作出一個完整物品的技能,似乎變得越來越奢侈,也好像並非必要。只是來到近幾年,卻默默讓我注意到市場上冒出越來越多品牌,不僅在精神和設計上追求獨立,甚至連生產過程都想一手包辦,似乎是對現下生產模式的一種反撲。

說了這麼久,這次要介紹是來自三藩市的帆布包品牌JOSHU+VELA。創辦人Noah Guy曾經效力Levis和The North Face,自2001年時已擔任包袋設計師,在為別人拼搏十年後,最終在2010年創辦自家品牌。品牌最有特色的地方,是他們不僅有想法靈感,同時也有實踐的力氣。在品牌介紹頁面中Guy就有特別強調,他們擁有自家的生產機器,對生產的商品。而如果你有機會拜訪三藩市實體店,更可以參觀工房的日常運作,觀察職人一針一線地縫製包包,是少數能讓你目睹由製作到完成的一條龍體驗。

This is probably a nightmare that every fashion school graduate has encountered: being fully inspired and having no trouble sketching out ideas, but then at the end, nothing concrete or worthwhile is produced. It might be due to the fact that division of labor is playing a role; the ability to produce a finished product all by one hand has become sacred but also unnecessary. In recent years, however, I have noticed that more and more emerging brands are pursuing independence, not only in their spirit and designs, but also through their ambition to get involved in the production process. I consider that to be a strike against the normal mode of mass production.

JOSHU+VELA is a San Francisco-based bag company that specializes in canvas. The founder, Noah Guy, has been a bag designer since 2001. He previously worked for Levis and The North Face, and eventually launched his own brand in 2010. JOSHU+VELA stands out in the market, not only because of their remarkable ideas and inspiration, but also for their devotion to making things happen with their own hands. According to their website, they even have their own production machines. And if you have the opportunity to visit their physical store in San Francisco, you will be able to witness the daily operations of their workshop and see with your own eyes how a bag is sewn together by their craftspeople with needle and thread. The workshop tour in JOSHU+VELA is one of the very few one-stop experiences that allows you to witness the entire production process from start to finish.

以帆布包為生產素材,包型設計倒不受限,由平常的日用背包、側背包,到旅行用大容量的包款,林林種種的一應俱全。設計上JOSHU+VELA的每一顆包,都只會留下必要的功能造型,而放棄裝飾作用的設計。以「Zip Backpack」這款為例,採用上八O年代的經典背包造型,只是把細節都盡量簡化,並利用帆布和皮革縫接起來,使包體在紮實之餘,帶來混合材質的視覺趣味。另外像「Duffle」系列,就採用常見的圓筒運動包造型,近乎無裝飾的包體,僅有皮革和帆布色帶加固,換來一種簡約卻世故的韻味。

不過最有趣的還得數「Utility Tote」這顆托特包,以美國水電工工具包為靈感,包含主艙共設計了六個口袋,不遺漏你生活中每個需要的物品。不過如果東西真的太少,那多出來的口袋又該怎麼辦呢?品牌也幫你想好了,其在介紹頁面中寫到——「當你要外出慶祝時,包包的四個大口袋可以各裝一瓶紅白酒或香檳。」水電工也可以變派對大王,這樣子叫顧客拿工具包裝酒帶著走的意見,似乎也可以窺見品牌的幽默底子。

There is a wide range of canvas products by JOSHU+VELA including day-to-day backpacks, totes, and large-capacity travel bags. Design-wise, every detail on a JOSHU+VELA product is meant for functionality without unnecessary decorations. Take their “Zip Backpack” as an example. The bag is a simplified yet improved version of a classic backpack from the 1980s. Both canvas and leather are used to create a much sturdier body, while at the same time, giving a visually tasteful look. Another example is the “Duffle” series which borrows from the commonly-seen cylindrical shape. The series comes with no decorative components, with only leather and colored canvas ribbons being used bringing a simple and sophisticated charm.

The most interesting product of them all goes to the “Utility Tote.” Inspired by the American electrician’s tool bag, the tote comes with six pockets that can carry almost every single item you need in your daily life. What if you don’t really need to use all those pockets? The solution is ready for you on JOSHU+VELA’s website, “When it’s time for celebration, the four larger pockets can each accommodate a bottle of wine or champagne!” The idea of an electrician turned party-goer? It definitely gives you an idea of the designer’s sense of humor.