Only One To Blame Is Me

Please note that the following handbags represent first prototypes and serious blunders. This blog documents our trials and errors and tracks our progress from inexperienced start-up to launching the Taryn Zhang brand. Please bear that in mind as you look through these photos and illustrations.

I sat there stunned at what I saw. I have spoken with designers who warned me this might happen, who recounted to me how this happened to them. My husband James, who has truly been a partner in this endeavor, came over and patted me on the shoulder. “There, there now. You didn’t think this was going to be a walk in the park, did you?”

It is so easy to point the finger and blame anyone but yourself, but the truth here is the only one to blame is me. The samples came out looking exactly like or at least very close to my sketches, except… they don’t look… good! And that’s why it’s nobody’s fault but mine, since I’m the one who did the sketches. A lot of the error– okay, who am I kidding– all of the error can be attributed to my complete lack of experience.

Below are 3 of the initial designs that at this point will very likely be edited out of the final Alpha Collection. These 3 couldn’t be straying further from the brand’s intended point of view, that is, aside from the more obvious condition of ugliness. Unless I can manufacture up a miracle, this post will probably be the last you see of these 3 designs.

Oh, and try to ignore the colors and material choice. I know– how do you ignore a train wreck? But in terms of material, I’m still experimenting. All I know for sure is it has to be the highest quality vegan leather I can find. No PVC (poly-vinyl chloride) and no plasticky, rubbery, nylony textures.

See how there is nothing wrong with the craftsmanship, and the sample of the Kindred Spirit is about as close to the sketch as it will probably ever get; and yet it is so far divorced from my original vision. I wanted the construction to be a bit more shell-like, a bit harder, glossier, not matte, and stand on its own, sturdy. The actual sample looks pillowy.

And what was I thinking with the colors?! It looks like I took a panda and turned it into a bag. I mean…here I am calling it vegan?! (Folks, please note that no pandas were actually harmed in the making of this bag.)

With the Peripatetic, I really wanted to capture the circle shape. We’re just not getting there for some reason. I’m not entirely clear why. Also, I thought I had selected a very light gray-greenish hue, but the actual color of the material is, um…duly unpleasant? It’s like a rotton-broccoli-green. :: mopes ::

Also, the stripes aren’t as I had imagined them either. I imagined a very thick, broad stripe of black, and then a stripe of dark chocolate brown trimming, and a light pink trimming, more like the sketch. Again, I may not have adequately communicated my visions. Heck, it’s pretty clear I didn’t since, above all else, the bag is still not a circle!

As for the above Duchess, no comment. I mean, what can I comment with? It looks like pleated poop. (Pardon how undignified I sound.)

July 2009, First Conception of The Duchess

The main problem (paradoxically enough) is that the samples to the right are more cartoony than the cartoons of the designs to the left.

I will say this: quality of the bags are up to par. From the reinforced stitching to the detailing, it’s all there. And that further confirms the theory that it’s my fault, not anyone else’s.

Designers love to say, “They just don’t get me.” Like it’s other people’s shortcoming for not being telepathic. At least I’m not delusional. I can see what’s going on here. I didn’t put any distance between my design conceptions and my rationality before sending the specs off to the factory. I thought what I had was fantabulous. Now I’m confronted with how utterly un-fantabulous the original design conceptions were. Now I’m hyper-insecure with all my other designs. I’ve sketched out the Beta Collection already, and parts of the Gamma. Are those designs equally un-fantabulous and I’m just too callow to acknowledge it?

Am I embarrassed to be posting these? Oh, definitely. I can’t believe these were my designs. I did these. I have always prided myself for being artsy, for possessing an artistic eye, for having a great sense of aesthetic, and yet I designed these. That is why I am feeling disappointed today. I’m disappointed at myself.

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