Paper Crocodile

For a while I had all these gorgeous crocodile skins at my disposal. As I kept getting new ideas for other materials, these precious hides just sat in my studio, what can I say? I was empty on ideas for how to proceed…in fact I wondered, why did I even buy these?

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Well, fast forward a year later, and I still didn’t have the answer.. I always like to do my research, in terms of what kinds of crocodile bags came before. Well, maybe a google image search isn’t research, but to illustrate my point, if you just take one look here you’ll see that most of these bags are very structured and pristine. Crocodile bags always bring to mind perfectly coiffured ladies of the 50′s era, and some of the contemporary designs using crocodile are kind of antiquated (still) in a way. I always think of that Hermes bag, as if this precious material can only be reserved for the most rigorously structured, old fashioned, lady like purses…

I have to admit, I was getting tired of the ‘same’ precious treatment that crocodile hides always get. We all know what the idiom ‘Crocodile Tears’ mean.. And yes, though these hides are very expensive, who would it hurt if these hides were treated with some irreverence? Why not even go as far as to treat these hides like paper..with some nonchalance, a non-committal attitude.. Ironically, to get some much needed inspiration, I went to one of my least favorite places in the world: Staples. (Some quick photos below taken with an iphone).

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One of my first memories of Staples was when I needed to get that humongous calculator, the TI-83, with my dad. I was good at math until I got to highschool, and then I completely lost it. Of course my dad wanted me to be in the AP calculus classes, but every time I tried to make those pretty little graphs after entering an equation that was ‘supposed’ to work, I always got an error screen.  Getting this calculator wasn’t exactly a great memory…

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The minute you walk in you see all this merchandise that’s designed to create waste. You’d think with all the technology we have right now, there would be no need for this kind of stuff, but it’s kind of reverse right? Like I still always need to print things out…even though ink costs an arm and a leg. Most importantly, everything at Staples is disposable. You’ve got tape, boxes for packages, paper, all stuff that may eventually get shredded and thrown out. But still you need tape, and those boxes. Especially if you run an e-commerce business.

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But looking at these disposable products objectively, their design properties were actually quite sophisticated, very modern, and highly functional…Like the name tag cases that hand around the neck I showed above..Or even those little white sticky paper rings made to heal broken holes..My favorite element is the one pictured below, the button tie envelope.

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…and finally, one of my other favorites, the greeting card envelope. Again, love that it has some origami properties, that it’s structure is built without seams.

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Bags still utilize that origami method, but with these they were brought out in much softer folds, it really showcases the crocodile hide, and they are not so rigorously structured, only rigorously cut. Also, you lose the unruly, organic, beautiful properties of the hide itself if you put too much structure in the bag. I didn’t want to overdo it with the design because these bags should really showcase nature. And yes there is structure here, I mean an envelope, it’s very structured and that’s what these bags were inspired by. But fleshed out with the crocodile, you get uneven edges which I really love, it’s lines really depend on the crocodile’s sharp mountainous texture.

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I tried to carry over many of those stationary elements I saw at staples, and even though I used the words ‘irreverent’ to describe the inspiration behind these bags, they were treated with meticulousness.

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And definitely not disposable, each of the bags are not only constructed with crocodile, but lined with leather.

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And of course I had to utilize that button tie element I saw at Staples, love it. I fleshed it out with hardware.

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The bags are not seamed together, I wanted to really keep that ‘enveloped-folded’ feeling for these purses, but I did need some hardware to balance out the unruly, gorgeous pattern of the crocodile. On each side to secure the seams, I added 3 permanent studs.

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(Luxirare leather jacket, Celine Spring 2011 blouse.)

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These wallet necklaces were also inspired by those name tags I showed you above from Staples, the ones that hang around the neck..Except these don’t introduce you in any way, they are used as mini wallets. These are my favorite, like them more than the bag. I really don’t like carrying bags, that often times I find it hypocritical of me designing so many of them…

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It fits just enough, a credit card and some cash. I like to hold my phone in my hand a lot of the times because I take photos and need it for texting/emailing.

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With this wallet necklace, the wallet part detaches so that you can reattach it onto your keychain.

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Each of the purses come with two straps, one for around the shoulder, and one really short just for a handle / wristlet.

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Thanks so much for reading, as usual. All of the bags and the wallet necklaces are available in the shop.