It’s all in the bag

Sewing is not just something for old ladies - it's a skill with which you can be really creative.

SkillsOne visits Crumpler in Sydney, to find out how they create their custom designs on bags. From the initial design, to the computer representation - then how they are sewn onto the bag. We find out how these unique bags are made!

We chat to Renee Hargis, seamstress and designer, who shows us through the process.

She is really passionate about sewing - it's the only thing that makes sense in her head, it's like meditation, everything else around her fades away and it's the only thing she can so fully focus on.

About Renee:

She finished year 12 and after that did a 2 year TAFE course at Ultimo TAFE in fashion technology, in which you learn pattern making (for clothing and patterns as in colour schemes), and sewing.

Next to working full-time for Crumpler, Renee also studies theatre costume making (again at TAFE Ultimo) for 2 to 3 nights a week, for the next 3 - 5 years.

There she learns for example how to make theatre and ballet costumes and this ties well into her last diploma.

Her plans for the future are to finish this course and then pick up a course in hat making and just keep on gaining more skills and gathering knowledge.

The skills you need to do the job she's doing is to have a basic understanding of pattern making, understanding of different kinds of fabric, have sewing skills, a passion for sewing, be computer literate (using Illustrator) and have good customer service skills.

About Crumpler: Crumpler was founded in Melbourne in 1995 by Dave Roper and Will Miller (ex bike couriers and founders of Minuteman Messengers), and sculptor/furniture-maker/bike courier Stuart Crumpler.

In 2000 Joerg Bodenschatz and Siegfried Elgert joint in as equal partner.

Stuart designed the logo in 1991 which he branded onto his furniture designs.

From the beginning the bags were designed for bike messengers, in particular those working for Roper and Miller's bike courier company, Minuteman. As the bags seen around the city were durable and colourful, there was soon commercial demand and the range grew to include more options in colours and sizes.

Due to this commercial and more professional demand the Australians were looking for business-partners which they found in Siegfried Elgert and Joerg Bodenschatz.

Today, Crumpler is equally owned by all of them but practically divided into two autonomous working parts.

One providing the European, African, South, Central American and Mexican market, the other one delivering bags to the USA, Canada, Asia and Australia. The company then started producing colourful laptop computer and camera bags.

The colourful bags were both unique and highly influential in times when the dull black technical style bags prevailed. The appeal of the bright colours of the bag prompted the company to offer, and recently reintroduce, an artisan based customization service.

Like many businesses, Crumpler aims to be innovative. It pioneered what is now referred to as 'viral marketing', initially spray painting its memorable logo on bicycle paths in the city, has made its 'Beer for Bags' weeks a regular event

VJ Rodney Meier