>> When I was tasked to customise the new Coach Swagger bag as part of their #WhatsYourSwagger campaign, I did have to think long and hard. I’m sadly not a person who is naturally imbued with “swagger”. In fact, I had to Urban Dictionary search the word just to clarify its meaning. Thankfully the bag’s history was a guideline in itself, as it’s rooted in an original 1967 design by Coach’s first creative director Bonnie Cashin. Ideas of the old and new, and the past and present started to whir around as well as being faced with the perfect shade of periwinkle blue as a foundation.
Then I happed upon stashes of vintage indigo fabric swatches at the Dyeworks stall at the Selvedge fair in Bath last weekend. Polly Lyster has been indigo dyeing antique fabrics for the last twenty years in the Cotswold and she’s also an avid collector of Indian silks and hemp and linens from France. The bundled up fabric scraps are a mix of her own dyed cloth as well as antique samples with one particular quilted indigo cotton dating back to the early 19th century.
Inspired by the patchworked aesthetic of Pero in India, Blackmeans in Japan as well as the obvious originating source of Japanese patched and mended boro textiles, I set about cutting up the swatches into squares and rectangles and getting patchwork happy on the main body of the bag. If I could stitch through such thick leather, I would have done but I took the somewhat easy but efficient way out and used leather-appropriate and fabric glue. A Sharpie paint marker was used to add some deliberately fake stitches.
The result? Something old, something new, something borrowed and something that’s most certainly very blue that is surprisingly easy to achieve if you have the right fabric foundations. That’s my very un-swagger-like swagger.
Customised Coach Swagger photographed with Master & Dynamic x Proenza Schouler headphones, Riposte magazine, ‘The Smell of Us’ by Larry Clarke x J.W. Anderson, ‘In Memory of Things to Come’ Kim Hye Mee lookbook, ‘Subtly Worded & Other Stories’ by Teffi (Pushkin Press), Japanese indigo dyed scarf, Studio Arhoj ‘Ghosts’