Milan, the capital of fashion and design. This idea has been strengthened in recent decades also thanks to the success of schools dedicated to fashion and design. Alongside the Istituto Marangoni, where since 1935 budding fashion designers have taken their first steps and have learnt the rudiments of fashion design, are schools for talented interior and product designers like IED (European Institute of Design) and the Domus Academy offering a plethora of courses, workshops and master programs, have among their founders and faculty the most prestigious individuals and inaugurating in parallel, courses dedicated to the world of fashion. Consolidating this educational excellence are the events: fashion weeks, the Milan Furniture Fair and other fair events which have fed and feed the forges of creatives, offering opportunities to new talent drawing continual inspiration.
Certainly all this fervor feeds on the worlds of new media, advertising and images which have in turn contributed to the fascination and also the curiosity around the figure of a designer. Whether addicted to fashion or architecture, this profile represents for all eyes, the maximum interpreter of trends, a judge of elegance and style and always in the right place at the right time. A young person educated, which in the Third Millennium, has been able to ride a variety of communication languages, is often a very active blogger and is present on a wide range of social media. With his or her own taste in clothes – often able to influence the style of the catwalks – they go to the places which will become the “must” for the coming seasons and guide, sometimes creating new trends, the intended use of city neighborhoods.
Yet a designer is much more than what at first glance may seem like the updated version of a rampant yuppie from the 80s. Today this idea is changing also thanks to initiatives such as Fuori Salone (off-site events); an extremely innovative moment, part of important fair events where light is shed on the purely creative, unconventional and sometimes naïve side of a professional profile which encompasses a project dimension of the highest value. And it is also in contexts like the Fuori Salone or Salone Satellite that young and unexpected emerging designers find space and voice.
In these occasions, just as in other numerous situations often far from the spotlight, new talents arise, highlighting and spreading their ideas like wildfire, influencing new fashions and styles, in some cases, even without making much noise.
This is the story of Massimiliano Di Domenico (class of 1987) and Riccardo Rivolta (class of 1988), two designers linked with the USHBAG project.
What was it that sparked these two very young minds with this brilliant idea now making itself heard? Riccardo and Massimiliano both studied at the IED, where each had attended a different course; one for interior design and the other for product design. Only later did they make acquaintance. In fact, they met while on the job. Here they were stimulated by everyday fabrics, lines and different materials, and thanks to personal and professional research, launched in a large incubator project in that of art direction and product research, Riccardo and Massimiliano found their idea and began to give it life.
The spark was lit at the time when both had the desire to do something for themselves, something which reflected their own way of understanding life. And as such, the idea of working on a backpack came about; combining a very simple shape (the two designers started with the design of a bag with cords and drawstrings very popular in the 80s) with the concept of “something that can represent your extension” as explained by Massimiliano.
USHBAG Is a sort of bag for every day and a kind of backpack for outngs, perfect to hold a few essential personal belongings: a notebook, a wallet, some keys, a mini camera but also, and why not, a laptop. The look has been designed, for the most part, for the need of convenience, but not only. On the one hand, the vertical zip and button guarantee an “antitheft” closure while the upper fold lets you put the backpack in the closet without taking up too much space and without the risk of it loosing its shape. And on the other hand, these features are the personal signatures of a product with great aesthetic appeal.
But how did Riccardo and Massimiliano move to give life to this idea? “We had to start researching, looking to understand which materials were best suited the product we had in mind, yet we had to improvise on a territory still new to us. It was a long and complex process, yet with great satisfaction.” The two young designers had to then had to then look for a way to physically give shape to the project, considering the cost and time needed. The adventure kicked off in 2013, despite USHBAG being something more than an idea and certainly not a finished product ready to be fed to the market, Massimiliano and Riccardo – after having their first creation in hand – opened a specific Facebook page where they began uploading photos. The backpack was soon launched as the “social backpack,” Friends and first purchasers were invited to post their photos from all corners of the earth alongside their unforgettable buddy. Their goal was soon reached; the viral Web presence began to attract the interest of fashion bloggers and fashion magazines which began to write enthusiastic reviews.
Today, development projects are different, Massimiliano and Riccardo are in fact spending time on the materials they should invest in (at the moment, the backpacks are in eco-leather) and patterns (colleagues have already been involved in coming up with different and customizable motifs); an accessories line has also been launched, including “HandUSHBAG ” at the front; and a children’s line is already in the works. “The way you feel” reflects the versatility of the product which currently has two lines (Bright bicolor and Forward monocrome) and may be adapted to a variety of situations.
Even though we can’t talk about a real production at the moment – the designers are in fact looking for funding which would allow them to start a more stable and profitable business – The Trendscendent will follow the developments of this young and very promising reality, ready to explore new collections and prototypes to which they give a voice.
For further information http://www.ushbag.com/