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Multidisciplinary Artist + Designer Clara Chu tells us about Atelier100 - FAD Magazine

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Multidisciplinary Artist + Designer Clara Chu tells us about Atelier100

Atelier100 is an entirely new concept, driven by a collective of creatives, makers, manufacturers and design industry experts. Established to bring the focus back towards the merits of local design and local production, Atelier100 gives agency to ideas that might otherwise have remained in limbo.

The initiative combines masterclasses in business know-how, 1-2-1 mentoring sessions and the opportunity for successful applicants to bring their original concepts to life. Every product made will be available to buy at the Atelier100 store. The multifunctional space will also act as the hub for the Atelier100 creative community – a place where they can get the support they need to nurture and develop independent brands of their own.

At the root of Atelier100, there is a strong commitment towards recognising the holistic benefits of building local networks, where creatives and makers can unite, connect and work together to make sustainable, commercial products. This unique initiative has been established by H&M and Ingka Group (the largest IKEA franchisee) to help inspire people to bring their innovative ideas to life.

Atelier100
Atelier100

We managed to sit down with three of the creatives that have taken part in the unique initiative and ask them a few questions about the programme and the products they have created that you will be able to buy in-store from November 1st at Atelier100.

First up we have Clara Chu a Multidisciplinary Artist + Designer @clarachu

Tell us a bit about your practice/ studio

I am a London-based artist and designer specialising in accessories design. My practice involves creating work that re-imagines everyday, mundane domestic objects into colourful forms of fashion accessories. I collect discarded household items from different parts of the world such as hoovers, mops, kitchen utensils, toothbrushes, and transform them into one-of-a-kind handbags.

How has it been working with Atelier100? What have you found useful about the mentorship programme? 

It has been great fun working with Atelier100 and being a part of a community with other like-minded creatives of London. On top of the funding, I’ve gained very useful advice and support on various areas of the business such as managing finances, material sourcing strategies for my product developments, understanding trend forecasts and site visits to other manufacturers in London etc, this knowledge and guidance on business know-hows will benefit me towards creating a more accessible and efficient business.

If there was one take away or lesson from the process of working with Atelier100 you had to highlight, what would it be?

How to properly set up my business as a company in the UK! 

Can you give us any insight into the product that may come out of this process?

The products as outcome of this process include handbags made from a combination of soft and hard household items found around West and South London – old textiles taken apart from garments, shoes and curtains, deconstructed plastic pieces from CD cases, toasters and lab tube racks.

Do you prefer selling what you produce in a physical or digital space?

I prefer selling what I produce in a physical space because the work becomes much more exciting when we can highlight the different use of materials and their tactility. The process of finding out what type of household items are used in each product is way more fun and appealing to the audience in comparison to simply visual means. It enables them to take a closer look at the details that often carry humorous translations made in an alternative approach to a traditional handbag – for example a sink plug used as a bag lock.

What plans have you got for the rest of 2022?

The plans I have for the rest of 2022 include involving the community more in both my sourcing and production processes by encouraging customers to donate their own materials in order to receive a new product in return. I would like to spend more time on developing a new website that offers a more accessible, systemised and efficient process of purchasing a Clara Chu custom bag. I’m also hoping to be involved in more collaborative projects with some homeware stores in London and run workshops on repurposing materials into accessories. After the installation I created in Arnhem, I would like to keep myself open to opportunities like that and transform everyday objects sculpturally in other artistic directions on top of accessories products.

Atelier100 space address: Atelier100, Livat Hammersmith, King St, London W6 9HW

Opening times: 10am-7pm (Monday-Saturday), 11am-5pm (Sunday)  For more information about the products currently available in-store, visit: atelier100.com/products

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