Interview with Alec Farmer, creator of Trakke bags
Trakke bags are one of 5 fantastic Scottish brands that we're proud to carry in our concept store in Glasgow. Handmade in Finnieston & using British materials, Trakke aim to make products that are "durable, versatile and timeless – equipment that blurs the line between kit and companion”.
We spoke to Alec to learn more about Trakke's beginnings and inspirations.
Trakke began as a side-project in my living room in 2010. I learnt my craft by making bags using salvaged materials I found on the streets of Glasgow, and sold them down at the infamous Barras market. I made a few hundred bags like that - each totally unique. After a while, I’d refined my designed and relaunched with a whole new palette of high quality materials from some of the best mills and manufacturers in the UK. Today, we have a small team who craft each bag right here in Finnieston, Glasgow. Using long lasting, weatherproof fabrics like waxed cotton, and durable fittings made from stainless steel, we try to make sure that everything we make will last a lifetime.
What is your favourite step in the creative process, from idea generation, to creating a finished product?
To be honest, I love the variety. We’re a small team, and we do everything in-house, so one day I might be working on designs, then I’ll be developing a prototype, or heading out on a photoshoot. It’s a lot of work, but doing it this way gives us complete control over every aspect of the process. I must admit though - photoshoots are the most fun. We gather a bunch of friends and head for the hills with our camera. It doesn’t feel like work at all!
Where do you draw inspiration for your work?
I love the classic mountaineering packs from the 60’s and 70’s. It was the golden age of gear design, and so much advancement happened over this period. The bags were still simple though - they didn’t put too many features on them; there was no ‘fluff’ - they were just solid, well built, durable packs that were built to last. That’s really informed our philosophy. Times have changed a bit though, so while our bags are quite classic, we give them a modern twist and integrate laptop sleeves and things like that so they work in both urban and outdoor environments.
You’ve done a few collaborations in your time - is this something thats important to your practise?
Collborations are great fun - it’s given us the opportunity to work with some amazing people, from Jura Whisky to Kestin Hare. The key is to create something that you couldn’t create individually - so with Jura, for example, we created an amazing pack that was informed by the distillery and it’s remote island home. Every single detail was reminiscent of something on Jura - from the deer hide zip pullers that alluded to the 3000 deer that inhabit the island, to the colour, which was created from a lichen that grows there. Collabs let us work on something different, something tangential, that can really open new avenues for exploration!
Why did you choose to stay in Glasgow after graduating, and have you ever felt the pressure to move to a bigger city, eg. London, to grow your business?
I started Trakke while I was studying at the GSA, and when I graduated I realised that I loved the city, and I had a great support network to help Trakke flourish. There is some pressure to move to London, but to be honest, I don’t fancy it. Sure, there are a lot of opportunities down there, but there’s also a lot of competition, and everything is more expensive. Living and working in Glasgow means that we can rent an amazing, spacious workshop and focus on making great stuff.
How do you find the creative scene in Glasgow?
The design scene here is really thriving at the moment. I know it sounds cheesy, but the tagline ‘People Make Glasgow’ is so true. Ever since we started, people have been so supportive of us, and that has really helped us to build our brand. I’m constantly meeting new people who are insanely driven and creative, and that ‘can-do’ attitude is so intoxicating. I can’t think of anywhere I’d rather be!
See Trakke's website for more info and to view their full product range.