- Buyer's Guide
5 Key Elements :: Designing the QWSTION Simple Holdall
QWSTION have spent years honing their skills at creating bags that embody functional Swiss style. With their Simple Holdall, they embraced the challenge of simplifying their design process even further without sacrificing practicality. The result is a bag that delivers thoughtful features, great versatility, and quality materials while remaining understated and good value for money. To learn more about the inspirations and creative process behind the bag, we asked QWSTION’s creative director, Christian Kaegi to share the 5 key elements that shaped the design of their Simple Holdall…
We like our product names to reflect the same straightforward simplicity of our designs, and the Simple Holdall is no exception; it’s all about holding all your stuff even when you don’t hold back. It’s carry-on size and our go-to bag for weekend trips. With features such as expandability, external straps to hold things like a coat, and a backpack carry option to keep your hands free, we find it’s a great travel companion.
The first step in our design process was to determine the right volume for the type of bag we had in mind. It was important for us to get a physical impression of the size and proportions, so we created several volume mock-ups, all based on a weekend trip’s worth of stuff (25-35 liters). In determining our preferred volume, we considered everything from the size of the opening and how this affects the accessibility (packability) of the main compartment, to the possibilities of integrating multiple carry options (in this case: backpack system, handle, shoulder strap), and of course the proportions and look of the bag when carried.
“It was important for us to get a physical impression of the size and proportions, so we created several volume mock-ups, all based on a weekend trip’s worth of stuff (25-35 liters).”
We wanted the Holdall to have a fairly simple construction, so once the volume was defined the design process was all about getting the details right. For instance, ensuring the geometry of the backpack system was right, including the length of the straps. No detail was overlooked, even the shape of the leather loops holding the D-rings that also function as a garage for the zip ends at the top.
The new Holdall has its roots close to our Tote bag that also transforms into a backpack. But we soon noticed that a bag of this size needed a different kind of carry system, so we created a new platform. It was especially tricky to integrate the backpack system in a clean way that provided the functionality we wanted. On the first versions we were experimenting with a detachable backpack strap that could serve as a shoulder strap. However, there was a limit to the length in backpack mode and it wasn’t quite enough to work as a proper shoulder strap, so we ditched this later.
“It was especially tricky to integrate the backpack system in a clean way that provided the functionality we wanted.”
Weight is generally an important factor in a bag, and we need to pay special attention to this as our organic cotton canvas is not exactly the lightest material out there. But being Swiss, I guess efficiency in construction and materials is part of our DNA. 😉
We had the idea to construct the inside compartments out of one panel that would also serve as reinforcement for the stress points where the straps are attached. After some iterations we found a balanced solution that allows for interior and exterior pockets without adding a lot of weight.
“We had the idea to construct the inside compartments out of one panel that would also serve as reinforcement for the stress points where the straps are attached.”
The simplicity of the construction ultimately allowed us to create a reasonably priced travel bag that offers a lot of valuable functionality without compromising on the quality of the materials, namely our organic cotton, vegetable-tanned leather and durable straps. Although, unlike most other bags in our collection, we don’t offer a padded laptop compartment on this style, it has already been adopted for everyday use by some of our testers that like its classic aesthetic.
“The simplicity of the construction ultimately allowed us to create a reasonably priced travel bag that offers a lot of valuable functionality without compromising on the quality of the materials…”
QWSTION bags are made of almost 100% natural, renewable materials. We source almost all materials directly and visit our suppliers regularly, which is really helpful for creating our own unique material developments.
Cotton and linen canvas has been our material of choice for the shell since the beginning. Six years ago we began researching the use of GOTS certified organic cotton and eventually found the right partners for this endeavor. We purchase organically grown cotton from producers in Turkey and process it in the Shanghai area. It took a lot of trials but we managed to create a fabric with a very high density that we combine with a PFC-free Rudolf Bionic Wax finish. Currently around 80% of our products are made from this organic cotton canvas, and by the end of 2018 we want to reach 100%.
We’ve released the Simple Holdall in two colorways, Organic Blend Raw and Washed Black. The Organic Blend Raw is crafted from our high-density canvas made from 55% GOTS organic cotton and 45% recycled cotton, while the Washed Black colorway is crafted from our high-density canvas made from 100% cotton. We’re really pleased with the way it turned out, and we hope others enjoy it as much as we do!
“Currently around 80% of our products are made from this organic cotton canvas, and by the end of 2018 we want to reach 100%.”
Photography by QWSTION
*This is a sponsored post produced in partnership with QWSTION