Ursula Celano and Jacobs Well collaborate for ESPE 2014 DUBLIN, Ireland
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The annual meeting of the European Society for Paediatric Endocrinology had a little extra flair this year, as attendees were gifted delegate bags produced in collaboration with Irish designer Ursula Celano and Jacobs Well, a fair trade production unit in Bangalore, India.
The ESPE 2014 conference commission for 3200 bags was a fantastic opportunity to create a promotional item with real depth, as the blend of local Irish design with artisan-empowering fairtrade production in India made the shoulder bag a truly unique and mindful souvenir. The scale of the contract gave not only invaluable experience to producers but the financial security needed to expand the workplace unit and thus offer a future of economic and social independence to evergreater numbers of vulnerable women in the local community.
When Celano was commissioned to design the product she successfully pitched for the construction order to go to Jacobs Well, with whom she had an existing relationship for the production of her own eponymous line of home and lifestyle accessories. “I really wanted the commission to make a difference” says Celano. “A conference creates large volumes of promotional and other items. It is a big spend and can make a big impact in a community, given the opportunity it was great to create something desirable and reusable.
It was the biggest order to date for Jacobs Well, established in 1994 to deliver vocational training and employment to disadvantaged young people in South India. The extensive delegate bag project started completely from scratch when, unable to find existing cotton fabric to meet the exact weight and texture specifications, the team liaised with a weaver to produce 1000 metres of bespoke material.
The fabric was to feature an exclusive print. Celano worked with the conference team on designs that would be neutral, stylish and feature children, the final outcome showing her signature fun-loving style in a clean, unobtrusive colourway.
Featuring reinforced seams, an adjustable shoulder strap and a water-resistant inner pocket with several compartments for a tablet computer, reading glasses and anything else a doctor needs to tote around, this ostensibly simple bag was actually a complex construction task before you even consider the scale of production!