Experiment واحد (one) – a unique engineering experiment founded by three Kuwaiti Ladies with a penchant for style. Their bags are original,small architectural feats in the world of fashion. Not your run of the mill handbags, Experimentواحد bags are made out of unique materials found in buildings and not fashionistas shoulders. Khaleejesque got together with this creative bunch that has been making waves locally, read on to learn more about their architectural stint in fashion.
1. How did Experiment واحد come about and get started?
Experiment واحد started two years ago to be exact. We were three freshly graduated Architects with day jobs that weren’t allowing us to design nor practice what we’ve been doing in our academic years. We started designing small projects for mostly friends and family but weren’t exactly happy with our end results; and felt that the clients’ budgets and their own aesthetics were dictating the projects. So Experimentواحد was a way to eliminate these two factors. We decided to set our own project that would be conducted under our own budget and design aesthetics – where clients were not introduced to the process but to the finale outcome.
We decided to call it an experiment rather than a project, to allow it to be both dynamic and variable. As a first experiment we chose to target a product-handbags; it was a product in which we had no background what so ever in designing. It took us around 6 months of experimenting until we reached a level where we were comfortable in sharing the final products with the public. Eventually, we started displaying the handbags in small intimate exhibitions until we moved to selling our bags at suitable platforms.
2. What is your inspiration when it comes to designing the bags?
Since we came from an architectural background, at the beginning of our experiment we were mostly influenced by structures and materials. We either had a structure in mind and tried to find the right material and craftsman to make it into or came across a metal piece or a textile that had such a strong character it made us build the bag around it. With time, our understanding of construction techniques has grown greatly, the dialogue with the craftsmen that we worked with has matured, and we became more interested in connection techniques and textures. We started to custom-make almost everything in the bags, and began to manipulate the texture of the bags.
3. Are you going to branch out to different areas of design as opposed to just designing bags?
We recently started conducting experiments for our second phase- Experiment أثنين. We chose to work with the techniques we learned in our first experiment and to create surfaces. We’re still not sure where this project is heading though.
4. How has the response been from consumers towards your industrially engineer inclined bags?
The feedback from exhibitions is usually very supportive, with people being excited about our work. But we do fear sometimes that people are more excited about the idea of the experiment, than by the bags themselves. So when any of us gets stopped in a mall by a stranger asking where we got our bags from, we smile. This makes our day; since the enquiry is a genuine one and that stranger has no ideas we made that bag ourselves. Also we do have a lot of returning customers, so we do feel that the response towards the bags are very positive.
5. What kinds of materials do you use?
We combine materials that are usually used for heavy industry like copper, brass, stainless steel, and wood, with lighter materials like textiles and small-scale fasteners included in the design.We try to be very open minded when choosing materials, not perceiving how it’s usually used but rather to understand the material itself and what it offers design wise.
6. What makes Experiment واحد bags different than other bags in the market?
When we first started, we heard from many individuals around us that the bag market in Kuwait is mostly moved by the brands name rather than the design of the item. However, we believe that during the last two years, people have started to really appreciate well-designed pieces; they are also attracted to bags that are made by unorthodox techniques and materials. We do feel that we offer original pieces simply because we come from a background that has a completely different nature from the fashion business.
7. What are your future plans for Experiment واحد?
I think what motivates us the most in this project is that there are no long term plans. Its rather small everyday challenges and decisions that we tackle. Our perceptions are dynamic and they keep changing, a fact that we really embrace and enjoy.
8. Where can we buy experiment واحد bags?
They are available at Boutique 4, Dar Al Athar al Islamiyah museum shop, and in 52 degrees. Orders also can be placed through our website