Apowers' Softgoods Design Project

Hey all,

This semester has begun and I’m working on my studio class and would love to hear some feedback! A little background on where I’m at:

I’ll be graduating in December of this year, and you can see some of my previous work here: Behance

I interned at Under Armour in Footwear Innovation during Summer 2014, and at Enlisted Design in Oakland during Summer 2015. I’m aiming for a final internship this Summer at a top consultancy in SF. I’d like to be at studios such as Fuseproject, Ammunition, MNML, Matter and Artefact to name a few.

In my portfolio I think I’m missing a project with strong making and prototyping in the process and a high fidelity model/product. I also lack any sort of branding exercises that I see in a lot of the top student portfolios.

New Softgood Design Project

I often see people on the bus and I myself have experienced lugging around both a backpack and a gym bag on the bus or around the city, and I’ve found two main problems when observing and talking with people that have this experience.

  1. Lugging around both a gym bag and a backpack in a crowded bus or Bart train is a hassle.
  • Fitness in itself takes willpower, and if someone dreads packing/carrying their gym bag around it may threaten their consistency in going to the gym.
  1. There’s a disconnect between fashion and function in the realm of gym bags

I created a short deck to highlight some of my high level thoughts and opportunities.

I’d love to hear some of the board’s thoughts moving forward into ideation this week. I think there’s opportunity in this project to create a final high fidelity prototype (in the process of practicing my sewing) and creating a brand identity and possible visual design language.

One of my big concerns is attacking this project in a way that it doesn’t become ‘another bag’ so I’d like to break the mold here and push the boundaries of this market and consumer. I also think the key here is targeting a specific type of consumer (down to what they do in the gym and what they carry) and focus very heavily on their specific needs rather than aiming at a broad audience. I have this consumer pretty dialed in but I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Thanks for your time and I look forward to hearing what you all think!

Aaron, good project, looking forward to seeing the next steps!


Could be an interesting project. I’d push the consumer profile more though.

Looks like another “designed for students, by a student” thing.

What about the older professional who doesn’t wear a backpack and goes to a real job with work things and may show up at a meeting end of day and head to the gym next (assuming they are urban and commuting, not keeping the gym bag in the back of the bimmer)?

What about a professional who run commutes to work who needs a bag that is functional for the run and also to carry a laptop and go to meetings with?

I think doing a “fashionable” gym/backpack for yourself isn’t as exciting as it could be… and realize most adults don’t wear backpacks.



Ask yourself are you truly pushing the limit with a bag project? Will this be your portfolio highlight? Will this bag be interesting enough to the consultancies that you speak of? Maybe you will realize you need more of a softgoods/hardgoods wearable, or something in between… I try to hit the gym three times a week and I usually drive. My work/play bag typically stays in the car trunk and I rarely change at the gym.

I would try to spend as little time as possible on sketching pretty stuff and get down to user research pros and cons. Things change dramatically when you start to prototype. Whats the height and weight of your user? A 6’5 guy needs a bigger shoe compartment than a 5’7 guy. An all day bag carrier will need a different shoulder strap than someone who doesn’t. Try to jump into some crude and effective mock-ups. Deconstruct some cheap ass goodwill bags for patterns and fits. Be mindful of accessories compartments. Bust out the good ole pink foam and sculpt your shapes for a more accurate size and shape. I am interested to see what you come up with. Have fun with it.