personal statement Wall Street Journal

Statement by Ilse Veening, 3rd grade student Product Design at the University of the Arts in Utrecht, The Netherlands. 
''The frustration I have, ever since I was young, is that the most beautiful art and design is not always accessible to the general public. Last year I did an art project in which I got to work with a frustration or fascination. From that, I was inspired to create designer bags from cheap brands and materials. It started with a bag made from fruit nets, to creating designer bags inspired by Dutch supermarkets and later the Chanel bag out of a garbage bag. Creating something out of ‘nothing’ is a recurring theme in my work. 
The bag is a statement against buying into a brand. The original of this Chanel bag currently costs $10,200. I really admire Chanel, the Haute Couture and other high-end brands for their craftsmanship, aesthetic, and sophistication. It really can be beauty at its finest. Despite that, I just regret that the greatest part of the population can not afford such things. At some point prices become disproportionate, in my experience it often comes down to status. I am sure that luxury can bring joy the moment you purchase it, but in my opinion that is just temporary happiness. That’s also my message to the people that can afford luxury: would you rather spend your money on such a bag, or could you somehow help someone else with that amount of money?
One of my favorite things to do is pushing the boundaries of a material. The garbage bag, filled with padding is an experiment that worked out well. I want to show that even a garbage bag can be used for a similar result - there is a lot of potential in the materials we’re already surrounded with. That’s why I made a TikTok about the process of making the bag. Although the combination of garbage bag and fabric is surprisingly solid, the can tabs for the strap and other elements are a bit more vulnerable. For me it's mostly about the fun I had making the bag, and the story behind it. I think of it more as an art object, the bag is not really suitable for daily use.''​​​​​​​
Luxury shopper made from plastic 'Jumbo' supermarket bag and thrifted Vietnamese silk
'Albert Heijn' saddle bag, made from clay, printed fabric, shower curtain rings and cardboard
IKEA bucket bag, made from a big IKEA shopper and thrifted Vietnamese silk
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