Challenge 10: Team Pocket

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Prepare for trouble/ And make it triple / To protect the world from dispossession/ To unite all pockets under oppression / To denounce the evils of purses as primacy/ To extend our reach to concealable privacy / It’s Yaara, Alice, and Joy / Team Pocket sews off at the speed of light/ Surrender now or forever carry your freight / *sewing noises* that’s right!

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Problem at Hand: Compared to men’s clothing, women’s clothing tends to have smaller pockets that are barely functional, if they are present at all.

Market Research: we visited CambridgeSide Galleria to analyze two kinds of brands: 1) casual brands — Gap, H&M, and Aeropostale which are associated with teen fashion and lower prices, 2) business brands — J. Crew, Banana Republic, and Ann Taylor which are associated with quality and prestige.

Findings:

  • Blazer
    • The blazers at J Crew, Banana Republic, and Ann Taylor tend to have smaller pockets so as to maintain the shape of garment. Pockets are often sown shut, letting customers choose whether to use the pocket. Some pockets on women’s blazers can’t fit business card, small notebook or passport.
  • Utility/Travel Jacket
    • At H&M, Gap, and Aeropostale, the pockets are not only visible but quite spacious. You can also find multiple inside pockets as well. However, this type of pocket visibility is a more recent trend in fashion and  is associated with younger audiences, therefore not as present in the more ‘sophisticated’ brands. 
  • Jeans
    • We did not try on the pants for fit, but instead tested the pockets with an iPhone 5. Only the Boyfriend Jeans from Gap, sporting a casual and loose fit, fit an iPhone into the front pocket as well as the back. The pockets of many jeans we encountered were not even deep enough to fit a credit card. We also discovered that the tighter the jeans are, the more likely those jeans have shallower or “fake” pockets, such as jeggings (jeans + leggings).
  • Dress
    • For brands such as Gap and Aeropostale, the dress often comes with pockets along the seam of the dress, which doesn’t affect the overall shape and can store some personal items. In more business brands like J Crew, Banana Republic and Ann Taylor, their dresses often had no pocket. However, when they did, those pockets were also positioned in-line with the seam of the dress and hidden from view.  

Brainstorming of Ideas. Initially, we had a few ideas:

  1. To extend the existing front pockets and create more depth
  2. To replace the pockets with multi-seamed depth where a person can choose how many seams to open and customize depth
  3. To resolve the issue by redesigning boots to have pocket space for phones.

We decided on the first one. The concern with the second idea of having multiple seams for customized opening is the double bind: it’s either that the seams are strong enough to hold a phone in the pocket thus hard to open, or the seams are weak to easily be taken off but hard to hold content. The decision to not pursue the third idea came from the weather-limited use of boots and concerns with water/dirt that may be unique to footwear.

Targeted Approach: With all these choices, we decided to focus on jeans’ pockets, as the lack of functional front pockets is particularly frustrating. We were also in part inspired by this pair of creative entrepreneurs. We went to Garment District and picked up a pair of jeans with inadequate front pockets. Here is the photo of attempting to fit an iPhone 5:

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Once back on campus, we studied the various types and openings of pockets from all the pictures we took on the two trips. The pockets we’ve encountered had 3 types of shapes: rectangle, round, and polygon. The openings were either along a seam or on the front. The combination of those two characteristics produced the following:

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Additionally, we’ve experimented with different pocket designs and have created them physically to test fit a phone. They will be shown in class.

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Future Exploration: If this is to become a business venture, we could also look into offering DIY pocket expansion kits or providing guides like this one. In terms of advertisement, any new smart phone debut is a good opportunity to publicize, as well as to offer in-person service.

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