I chose bags for my Final Major Project topic because they’re something that I love, something that I obsess over and something that would keep me interested and motivated to progress throughout this final year. To be honest, it was a last minute decision and once I had thought of bags, I couldn’t imagine doing it on any other topic. At the start of the year, I didn’t really know why I was drawn to bags in the way that I am, but through research and self-analysis I have come to some conclusions on why I like bags in particular, and this is evident in my final films. From this starting point of researching designer luxury bags, my final major project has then gone on to look at concepts of consumerism, value, counterfeiting, branding and conspicuous consumption and related ideas.

To consolidate the topics I have researched, I have decided to produce a series of short documentaries and films that look at the areas I have investigated. This will include interviewing a collector of real designer bags, a film using some of the bags I have made out of plaster in a “factory” type setting and a film about what some people carry inside their bags, and what they think luxury is. To bring together my films, I will be making a website where they all can be viewed and played in any order that the visitor so wishes, and this will also include the research I have undertaken in the last unit. Whilst we are currently in the midst of a recession, it has been reported that some luxury brands are still making a profit despite this (Hermes and Mulberry being two examples), perhaps due in part to brand loyalty. The reaction from such articles is largely disparaging, with many commenting that such extravagant purchases are completely distasteful and wasteful at the best of times, but especially now with the economic climate as it is. With this in mind, I wanted to produce a series of short films for people who say they don't “understand” fashion, feel that it is “superficial,” and that spending so much money on items such as bags is “frivolous”.


There are some people and some books that say that bags can be seen as a symbol of the emancipation of women. Women used to carry their belongings in their pockets, and as they moved through the years to more present times bags started to appear, although in the beginning they did tend to resemble pockets more than the varied bag shapes we are accustomed to these days. What women carry around in them are often viewed as precious and intimate – people don’t regularly use see-through bags, although some have cropped up over the years they don’t seem to be able to stay around for that long. Locks and clasps and zips are all items that keep bag contents safe, and further emphasise this notion of intimacy. On a different level, “old bag” has been used as slang for an old “ugly or ill-tempered” woman whilst “purse” (as bags are often referred to in America) is sometimes used as slang for female genitalia. It seems that since their first appearance, handbags were inextricably meant to be linked to women, and in present times, a lot of marketing in this area of the industry would appear to play on these connotations.