We have come a long way from our trusty backpacks, but if you were to ask the duo behind local label, Omitir Concepts, there are leaps to be made. Founders Bryan Teo and Darren Loke started with a simple question in mind, ‘is the product needed?’ That question and the frustration with limited offerings sparked their nine-year journey of designing. The tale is familiar, but it is more than just solving design problems.
In an ‘all or nothing’ fashion landscape, the label prides itself on being a middle-market label. “We started making bags because [those on the market were] either too cheap but flimsy or too expensive and not attainable,” reasons Teo. Their latest collection, Sabbath, sees the duo creating a series of accessories that does not break the bank and improves on the form and functionality of the bags.
The ethos of the collection is perfectly distilled in the Porto Daypack, a single-sling crossbody bag designed to flow along the body. Double compartments mean you never have to take the bag off to retrieve any of the items in it. There was also an intentional decision to make it smaller so that it does not fit a laptop—one informed by the disruption to the form by the literal weight of it, as well as a figurative one.
Loke elaborates: “The idea for the collection is not to directly reference the entirety of Sabbath, but there are elements of rest in there, meaning these bags are not designed for going to work.” Teo adds: “More than the idea of rest, the Sabbath collection is based on the idea of rituals, based on the idea of a seven-day workweek. It is about routines and the things that keep you sane. So we went about exploring the purpose behind every bag; each bag has a particular purpose.”
Case in point: the Shelter pack is both a mini-crossbody bag and compartment organiser. There are also upgrades to staples like the Ambi Bodypack, that works now for both right- and left-handed users, and adding more compartments and buckles to the Box Tote and Bowler bag, making organisation a breeze. When asked about the future, the duo say they plan to expand their offerings, beginning with leather curtains and cushions later this year. “With COVID-19, we are spending more time indoors and we are learning to appreciate our living space more than ever. Having a well-designed product heightens our enjoyment of being in that space,” says Loke.
That being said, while their plans might seem like a response to current times, Teo notes: “What is interesting is the direction was set before COVID-19 and it’s something that has been in the works for a long time. If we could create anything, we want to design a house and all the products in it. Because everything starts with your home. It is the basic need for everyone.”