Toteo Blog: The Design Process

Toteo Fashion Bags: The Handbag Design Process, Part I

Here we take a look into the nitty gritty of what it requires to make that “IT” bag – a go-to fashion bag that perfectly compliments the latest seasonal wardrobe.

Handbag design can be challenging. We aim for each bag to be both sought-after and versatile, something that can be worn any season of the year, something that can be paired with multiple different outfits and on different occasions. TOTEO also believes in sturdy, solid design. We think longevity is important when it comes to the quality of the handbag. Here at TOTEO we also like to design to suit every woman’s needs. This holds true whether we’re designing a local farmers’ market, errand shopping tote bag, or an intricate, embroidered clutch or evening bag.

Says TOTEO Designer Hanifa Malam, “Design inspiration is key. Our inspirations help us to pick specific materials and shapes, and help us to decide how we’ll make a bag different from the rest. There’s so many great fashion handbag styles out there already, this can be a real challenge. At the same time, we also design to suit and satisfy our customer’s needs, so that our bags will stand out from others and at the same time fill an important need.”.

Concept sketches are usually the first step in our design process. We’ll sketch out what kind of styles we are designing. During this phase, we’ll ask questions about the initial requirements of the bag and, who it’s really for. Questions such as, “What is the purpose of this bag? Why does the customer need this bag – vs. other bags already out there in the market. Once we really know and are familiar with who the handbag users and buyers are, then we build out our requirements. And, that is also where the really fun part of the creative process begins!”

Says Hanifa, “It amazes me how sometimes, just one small piece of design inspiration can be the determining factor and lay the foundation for all the details of multi-item design collection.”

“As a designer, and as an everyday traveler in this world, I’m inspired by so many things around me. I can get inspiration from almost anywhere. A simple walk home from the train station can lead to numerous ideas. The people I pass on that route, or the simplicity of a foggy morning can lead to a beautiful new color palette. For me, the work doesn’t stop when I leave my desk. The things I see in everyday life and in everyday experience, the things that happen in everyday experience, this is where inspiration comes from. Drawing on such inspirations and adding to them a little brainstorming, and after that, mixing, matching, considering, and narrowing down options, this how my design concepts begin to take shape.

“I usually start my concepts by using a base, a basic shape of an initial bag that everyone longs for. The bag size and shape are key starting points. From there, I then either change small elements to make the design unique, or sometimes make bigger, more sweeping changes … but it’s always best to start with a base”, says designer Hanifa Malam.

More about Toteo fashion handbags, including numerous samples of the latest satchel purses, hobo bags, women’s messenger bags, tote purses, bucket bags, evening clutches, laptop bags, cross body bags, and more, can be found at the Tat Trading Inc. website.

This is what the fashion handbag design process looks like! Above we see Toteo handbag designer Hanifa Malam’s work table.


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