By Katie Dongworth


Does Japanese design conjure images of innovation and technology? If so, does this also apply to their fashion industry?

The BAO BAO ISSEY MIYAKE brand would suggest it does. Encompassing the Japanese passion for innovation, the technology and graphic design inspired style gives the wearer a taste of Japan. 

Nothing displays this technological inspiration more than the BAO BAO ISSEY MIYAKE bag. First launched in 2000, it has been extremely popular ever since. The bags are all made out of simple triangular pieces, forming a flexible structure that twists, folds and bends with the wearer’s movements. This flexibility produces ever-changing shapes, creating a truly unique and intriguing design.

For London Design Week 2019, BAO BAO ISSEY MIYAKE put on the exhibition BAO BAO VOICE as a showcase for these iconic bags. Like a blank canvas being splattered with colour, BAO BAO ISSEY MIYAKE transformed an open white room in the Protein Studios in Shoreditch into a kaleidoscope of colour. The colourful bags were displayed on crisp white tables and adorned the walls. Light bounced off the reflective triangles, transforming the bags before the guest’s eyes, daring people to touch, move, hear and play with them. And then, BAO BAO VOICE invited them to do just that.

BAO BAO VOICE exhibition. Protein Studios, Shoreditch. Image Courtesy of BAO BAO ISSEY MIYAKE.

In front of a large screen, a selection of bags were positioned next to signs instructing the guests to bend, twist, shake and tilt. As the guests twisted and pulled the bags in all different directions, technology detected the movements and connected them to synchronised sounds. The sounds then corresponded to graphic visuals on the screen, turning the bags into a three-dimensional musical instrument. This playful and interactive experience gave a voice to the bags that already exude so much life.

Image Courtesy of BAO BAO ISSEY MIYAKE

This exhibition perfectly displayed the distinctive and sensorial experience of the BAO BAO ISSEY MIYAKE collection but also demonstrated the bag’s practicality. Due to their engineering approach to design the bags are durable, flexible and lightweight. The different shapes and colours created by the reflective geometric design provide a different experience with each use, making the bags highly versatile. 

BAO BAO VOICE exhibition. Protein Studios, Shoreditch. Image Courtesy of BAO BAO ISSEY MIYAKE.

BAO BAO VOICE also featured a pop-up shop selling the usual lines as well as debuting the new Autumn / Winter 2019 collection, proving the continued success of this range nearly twenty years after its conception. The exhibition finished on 23rd September but if you are intrigued by these intriguing bags, check out BAO BAO ISSEY MIYAKE’s website and bring colour to your winter months.

BAO BAO VOICE by BAO BAO ISSEY MIYAKE debuted at the Protein Studios in Shoreditch during Design Week 2019.

You can view the full range on the BAO BAO ISSEY MIYAKE website.

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