In the Fall of 2015, Chicago based IIT students started developing ideas that came out of our Jam with Chicago manufacturer, Chicago Protective Apparel. From the 250 ideas that came out of the DesignHouse Jam, the students developed concepts in collaboration with the manufacturer in the Fall. They then continued the project through the Spring semester were they narrowed down to 2 soft goods products and created a new brand for them to live under, object.
One of these projects is the object.01 wallet. The wallet has a clever, super slim design that helps the user easily slide frequently used cards out. It is also made of material that is RFID protected and allows card readers to read the card without the user taking it in and out- both great for riding public transit.
Taking the concept through the Design for Local process, from initial sketch to manufactured product, was a great learning experience for the students. “I was a little surprised that local manufacturing still exists” says Ian, one of the students that has followed the project through two semesters. “I’ve been designing digitally so far and I never realized how long it takes to machine, prototype and iterate ideas. It’s a long process.” Going through the process of iterations, working directly with the manufacturer and improving the design is time consuming, but the students have learned so much about what it takes to bring a product to life beyond the concept.
The next step is to actually launch the brand, which the students plan on doing during the 2016 Fall semester. With this next challenge, they will learn how to market and promote their new brand while experiencing the process of having a full production of products made locally. Follow them on their journey on their website.