Essi Peuhkuri is heavily inspired by narratives surrounding identity and origin, as well as emotionally durable design. Peuhkuri´s interest towards the origin of fashion products sparked during an investigation into the life story and identity of a second hand handbag through the means of performing a ´Bag Autopsy´ (2018). The deconstruction of a used handbag highlighted manners in which multiple identities intertwine in designed objects and the mystery surrounding a product’s precise origin and journey.
Peuhkuri´s curiosity to discover more information led her to research product labelling and its role as a standardised documentation of care, material information and origin. Peuhkuri felt that in a world in which buying into anonymous fast fashion has been made so accessible and tempting, she should focus on nurturing more personal relationship between her products and their future owners, in order to avoid adding to the global textile waste problem. In search of more sustainable materials, manufacture and pattern cutting methods, Peuhkuri’s fascination with labels led her to develop label inspired packaging, based on a single, folded pattern which could be laid out more efficiently in order to reduce waste in the manufacturing process.
Trained in leathercrafts, Peuhkuri wanted to explore more ethical and sustainable alternatives to leather and chose to use environmentally friendly leatherboards, recycled from leather waste. She developed her packaging pattern into a folding clutch bag, which when opened, resembled the appearance of a book. Peuhkuri laser cut and engraved her bags with quotes from her readings, aiming to raise awareness of sustainability related research amongst everyday consumers. Together the three bag series forms its own narrative around sustainability and also has the potential to carry each consumer's own story within its hidden centerfold. Peuhkuri has designed her products to reflect the personal, mysterious and unique relationships we share with our handbags, in order to promote companionship between fashion products and their owners.