Eastpak and Jean Paul Gaultier team up to produce the most fashionable backpacks around
Eastpak has announced its collaboration with designer Jean Paul Gaultier to produce a capsule collection of backpacks. Continuing the two brands’ successful partnership in producing a bag for the Designers Against AIDS (DAA) project, a further four designs will be made available on a limited edition basis, with a percentage of the proceeds going to the charity.
Launched in 2004 by non-profit organisation Beauty Without Irony, the DAA initiative is one whose mission is to increase awareness of HIV and AIDS in international media on a global platform, and particularly the interest of young people via popular culture. The approach using celebrity backing and involvement in campaigns provides a stage from which the charity and its aims are visible to a wide and varied audience. DAA believes the HIV/AIDS concern has been largely forgotten across industrialised countries, and is fighting to maintain a high-profile awareness message in addition to championing the rights of seropositive people around the world.
Originally known as Eastern Canvas Products Inc, Eastpak was established in 1952, manufacturing products for the US Army and later producing the Padded Pak’r in 1976 which found immediate popularity among college students. In the 63 years since, Eastpak has been a leader in the market, its iconic padded backpack being the subject of one of the most recognisable advertising images of the early 90s. In 2011 the company introduced the Eastpak Artists’ Studio, which has been responsible for bringing together recognised and emerging creative talents to support DAA in designing their unique versions of the classic Eastpak Padded Pak’r©, and this year is no exception.
Jean Paul Gaultier’s style is recognisable worldwide and he is considered fashion royalty, having appeared in the industry in 1973 and rapidly established a following, carving out a niche in haute couture, costume design and a hugely successful fragrance line among other projects. He is well-known as a committed supporter of AIDS charities, saying, “I think the condom is the greatest piece of clothing ever invented and my message to everyone is ‘Protect yourself!’ I have been involved in the fight against AIDS for many years now and will continue to do so for as long as I am needed.”
Having worked together this year to create the Artists’ Studio edition which was auctioned to raise funds, four more designs have been produced for retail from the 30th January. The designs are inspired by four iconic key themes present in Gaultier’s work – Pilot, Biker, Bomber and Denim. The Pilot and Biker Backpacks form the limited collection, with Pilot available in two shades of khaki and nude, incorporating technical lacing and details echoing Gaultier’s signature corsetry and conveying the designer’s interpretation of the look of a jet pilot uniform. Priced at £270, this design is limited to 125 pieces.
Biker needs little explanation for its inspiration, with hand-stitched detailing, quilting and lacing. Designed to be tough, it expands on the bold leather biker look in its style. Also at £270, only 250 of these bags are available to buy and are likely to become a must-have for Gaultier fans.
Bomber and Denim will be released from the 1st April, being available more widely and priced at £70 each. Bomber is a classic design in a choice of green or black with a fresh pop of colour inside in the form of orange quilted lining. Denim fits comfortably within the collection, in two shades of blue, again reflecting a practical and iconic element of fashion – denim is a universal fabric, a phenomenon in itself, finding a place in popular culture and available across all price ranges, from haute couture to discount brands.
As is expected from both Eastpak and Gaultier, the craftsmanship across the limited and main ranges is of a high standard; Eastpak’s 30-year warranty on its products since 1984 alone is a testament to the quality of its products.