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Bags for All Mankind

MILAN — The concept of a unisex collection of bags would make most women cringe and most men snicker. However, in only its second season, the line People in Motion already has caught the attention of retailers around the world with its practical...

MILAN — The concept of a unisex collection of bags would make most women cringe and most men snicker. However, in only its second season, the line People in Motion already has caught the attention of retailers around the world with its practical yet stylish designs for both women and men.

Designer David McMillan was not discouraged by the task of pleasing both genders because the concept stemmed from his own needs: People in Motion is the latest example of a collection created out of a designer’s own frustration.

“I was looking for a bag for myself, but what was on the market was either too expensive or banished to nylon-land; there was nothing durable, practical or that looked natural,” said McMillan. People in Motion is a second line to McMillan’s David & Scotti collection.

According to the designer, People in Motion is multigender, but also has multitask functions. “Because of our lifestyle, work and play items are the same today, and you don’t need a bag specifically for work — the suit codes for work have changed and so have the accessories,” McMillan said.

The line, which wholesales at between $70 and $120, is distributed in 45 points of sale. In the U.S., it is available at Fred Segal in Los Angeles, as well as Searle and Bloomingdale’s. The U.S. accounts for 10 percent of sales of D.S. Commerciale, the parent company of both lines. Last year, D.S. Commerciale reported sales of $8 million. People in Motion now accounts for 25 percent of sales. In Japan, there are four corners at Barneys New York, one at Isetan in Tokyo and one in Hankyu, Osaka. In England, the line is available at Liberty and there are 12 corners at House of Fraser. McMillan said he plans to open stores in Tokyo and Milan within the next 12 months.

McMillan insists on bags that are “fully equipped” with zip-up pockets, extractable key chains, applicable to other bags or jeans, and pockets lined in leather. Details are in heavily based nickel, which, the designer said, is “much more resistant.”

For spring-summer 2005, there are five models ranging from flat postman bags to hobos and boxy satchels in hand-oiled hides, or leather-trimmed and suede-lined cotton canvas. For next winter, McMillan is developing 10 unisex models, 10 women’s styles and 10 travel models in suede with leather trim, colorful cotton canvas lining and velvet piping.

— Luisa Zargani