Lots of designers use LED materials for expression and to call attention to the wearer, but we think this is an interested twist: using them to add function to an accessory. Wearable tech startup FABRIKK took a new development in LED materials and put it into the lining of bags to illuminate them. We caught up with Kate Pearson, FABRIKK’s founder and CEO, who told us more.
Founded in 2013 in Leeds, UK, FABRIKK is an innovative, design driven luxury accessories brand offering creative and original solutions to a positive, conscientious, curious, and on-the- move consumer. With a strong focus on new materials and technology as the starting point in our new product development strategy, FABRIKK aims to give everyday products added levels of functionality and customization. Ethically sourced and handmade in Britain, FABRIKK is a vegan friendly independent brand.
What was your inspiration behind FABRIKK?
While studying product design, one of my main areas of interest was developments in new smart materials and how they could give our everyday products added value and create new experiences. Apart from my own struggle of trying to find things inside my bag, many handbag users have this problem when it’s dark. When I came across this new development in LED materials the first thing that came to mind was lining the inside of bags.
Tell us about your Vela cross body bag.
The Vela is a small, ladies, cork leather bag that could be used day or night and worn across the body or over the shoulder. We have adopted a new technology in LED materials to line the inside of the bag. This automatically switches on when the bags open and gives off an attractive subtle glow to help users find things at night. The bag is powered by a small battery pack and light from a single LED that travels down the fibre optic threads weaved throughout the material used to construct the inside of bag. There is an automatic cut off after five minutes to save power if the bag is left open and the LED attachment can be customized to omit different colors for the user choice.
The Vela will be available in a variety of vegan friendly cork leathers, another new development in materials made from the bark of the cork tree. These can be produced in an endless number of colors, textures and designs. Cork leather is soft, durable, vegan-friendly, ecological and weather resistant with a unique natural look. Although very weather resistant already we have also pre-treated our cork leather with a revolutionary nanotechnology, LiquiProof TM Protector, an invisible, non-toxic, water-resistant and oil-repellent formula.
What value does FABRIKK have that makes it stand out against other startups in the space?
Due to the nature of this new LED material it can be stitched and constructed in a way to replace what would be a traditional bag lining. The light is omitted throughout the threads of the material illuminating the entire inside of the bag, including the inside pocket. The effect is an evenly distributed subtle, non-offensive light on the eyes. We are the first brand to integrate this new smart material into the interior construction of a bag.
What has been your greatest challenge when making the Vela bag and what’s the most important lesson you’ve learned so far?
Finding a manufacturer in the UK to work in different ways with a new material was one of the first challenges. The initial product development and overcoming problems was costly and time consuming. Hitting brick walls with manufacturing and supply can also be a challenge to work around when you are just starting out.
Having a great team of professionals to work with has been invaluable to the project and will be vital to its success. We have learned how important it is to work with good people and listen to sound advice from industry experts.
Where can we buy your product, when is it available and what is the cost?
We have just finished manufacture on our first run and aim to have our online store up and running by the beginning of June. [Editor’s note: FABRIKK’s online store was just launched today!] Our first product the Vela will retail at £480 and be available in black, natural and green snakeskin cork leather.
What can we expect from FABRIKK in the future?
Expect more bags; there’s a larger unisex bag coming soon. We will also be launching a range of flat caps and baker boy caps in the cork leather where we will be offering a bespoke made-to-order service as well. We would also love to get into some clothing and other products, again with a strong focus on ethical production, new materials and functionality; so expect more innovative materials and customization from our products.
There are some amazing companies out there doing some fantastic things. We hope to collaborate with a few interesting companies in the near future to continually improve the impact of our products.
To find out more about FABRIKK visit their website here and watch the video below.
Third Wave Fashion has been your fashion tech think tank since 2011. We publish the first ever printed fashion tech magazine, Third Wave. Follow us on Twitter or subscribe to our newsletter to stay on top of the latest in fashion tech + wearables.