Everything about it is simple and understated and although the bag’s construction is not a new process by any means, its use of material is. Pleco bags are made in Japan by kna plus in co-operation with the Industrial Technology Centre of the Fukui prefecture. They are made from a woven, vertically pleated fabric which enables the bag to expand and contract to accommodate a range of objects. Providing the bag is emptied after use, the pleats resume their shape. They are produced in a range of sizes and colours and are surprisingly strong, given their light weight and delicate appearance.
Image ref: Close-up detail.
Image credit: Pam Langdown
The pleating of the bag puts me in mind of the beautiful constructions of designer Mariano Fortuny who was known for vertically pleated silk gowns in the early 1900’s, and Japanese designer Issey Miyake whose current line Pleats Please features materials that are pleated after sewing the garments into shape. Pleating as a construction technique has been used by Miyake for decades and influences of other traditional crafts are to be found elsewhere in his designs. MoDiP has in its collection a Mendori lamp by Artemide, designed by Miyake, incorporating traditional origami folding techniques applied to the shade which is made from recycled PET bottles.
Image ref: AIBDC : 007064
Image credit: MoDiP
The concept of fabrics which temporarily alter their shape and size by incorporating traditional techniques is also beautifully demonstrated in the Petit Pli child’s outfit, also in MoDiP’s collection. Using origami principals of folding, the garments have the capacity to ‘grow’ with the child through several sizes, and here let me refer you to Katherine’s blog post of September last year in which she explains things more fully.
It is great to see traditional skills and techniques being incorporated into modern materials. I will aim to report back on how my Pleco bag stands up to normal use: fingers crossed that it lasts more than a year!
MoDiP Documentation Officer