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Industrial Design

Coming soon to Coming Soon: the "It" Bag

By Laura Cassidy April 6, 2010


What do you do when, at 26, you’ve already wowed Peter Nordstrom and orchestrated successful fashion shows for Neiman Marcus? If you’re interiors designer Jessica Park, you essentially retire from Callison and dream up something big.

Park’s something big is Coming Soon, the buzzed-about concept shop that opened at the end of March in Fremont. It’s a gallery, it’s a performance venue, it’s a pop-up retail space, it’s a think tank, it’s a make-you-think tank, it’s a blank slate with just enough mystery and history where Park can practice her craft of thoughtful, mindful, totally brand new retail and display design… and redesign and re-redesign, and start-all-over-and-design-again design. It’s pretty much anything that can happen in a city on the edge of the world, and probably will.

Art-world collaborators thus far include Jesse Brown and John Fleming.

But Park’s something bigger might be the Fold-Over clutch. The interiors wunderkind found herself sketching out the design of a bag to be made from a wonderfully worn-in vintage mailbag she got her hands on, and, when she shared the idea with like-minded designer and partner Robinick Fernandez, the two teamed up to form the fashion and accessories line Ampersand As Apostrophe (total typography nerds, eh?).

The duo got their hands on a hundred of those gorgeous snail-mail relics, and got to work. The repurposed materials are transformed right here in Seattle.

You know those Alexander Wang bags that you sort of have to have if you’re tough but tiny and wear lots of faded black drapey, gorgeous jersey pieces? They’ll seem way less essential once the Fold-Over clutch goes viral.

You can see the bags in the slideshow here, but the thing to do is see them - and Park’s pop-up design— at Coming Soon.

Come Saturday, the space will become a choose-your-own adventure of sorts. The variations in the leather, as well as the stamped numbers that must have once differentiated between this mail carrier and that one, allow for really different finished products, and Park loves the idea of bringing you into the process. For a limited time — that is, while raw material supplies last — you can select the mailbag that will become your clutch, and have a hand in A as A’s handwork.

(Note: Saturday hours are 12-5 but you may need to ring 206-940-4193 to get in; at all other times, use that number for entry — chances are Park’s nearby in her studio — or to make an appointment to go hang out. Coming Soon is in a weird zoning netherland of sorts and this is the work around. Don’t sweat it. It’s just part of participating in the new world’s reinvented/rogue industro-art/consumerism.)

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