Isabel Helf at ITS 2015. Photo credit: ITS, Daniele Braida
2015 is a year Austrian designer Isabel Helf will never forget. She won the YKK sponsored Accessories Award in the ITS competition, winning €10,000 and the opportunity to showcase her next project at the 15th edition of the competition. In the same year, she completed her Master’s degree at London College of Fashion, and launched her own label.
Three years later, Helf’s focus remains on creating accessories that transcend furniture, product and fashion design. With a passion for woodworking, Helf utilises traditional craftsmanship together with self-developed methods. The pieces reflect her natural curiosity towards human characteristics and behavioural patterns.
Part of the prize for winning the award was something that money can’t buy; the opportunity to showcase collections at our YKK London Showroom in Shoreditch. This month, we are thrilled to be welcoming Helf as the latest window display designer. The six handbag “Framework” collection will be on display from 27th February until 6th April. Helf is an advocate of YKK products and each bag in the collection features YKK snap fasteners and YKK zippers used for the interior pockets.
Helf said: “Working with the YKK team since 2015 has taught me that fastenings can be used in so many more ways than you would initially expect.”
Helf’s ‘Framework’ pieces are further inspired by Gestalt psychology, a movement founded by Austrian Max Wertheimer focusing on the variety of human perceptions. Helf commented: “Subconsciously, we choose what we want to perceive, and this only happens if something captures our attention and we think it’s important.”
The bags in ‘Framework’ have been designed with already integrated storage possibilities, so that the handbags can be stored anywhere, not just in their specified places at home. In the Statusbag and Standbag pieces, the bags are the main focus of attention with visual accents around them. The Statusbag is on a rack, and the bag can either be worn with it, or used as portable storage. The Standbag also has a built in stand function which acts as a protective and integrated storage area for the bag. The Boundingbag is inspired by the Gestalt figure ground principle, where the more a figure differs from its surroundings in form or colour, the more attention and memorability it gets. Helf’s creative inspiration for the Casingbag was the simplicity theory, where simple structure and symmetry support the ability to concentrate on essential points. The wooden box acts as a house and permanent storage for the bag. For the Basebag, Helf draws on Gestalt’s theory of consciousness, where objects with special, eye catching characteristics are noticed, including the base of the bag.
It is great to welcome a designer that is truly inspired by the capabilities of different materials and machines. The future is bright for Isabel Helf, and at YKK we are very proud of the continued relationship we have with her.
For additional information visit isabelhelf.com
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