Meet Maj Wiboe: The Designer Behind The New BACKPACK 01
Totem Collective is about unifying the best from all over the world. To create the unique design of the new BACKPACK 01, Totem Collective teamed up with Paris-based designer Maj Wiboe of Wiboe Projects.
Having extensive experience in accessory design, designing bags come natural to Maj Wiboe. She is educated from Central Saint Martins in London where she did jewellery design and later she did a master in Women’s bags from Royal College of Art.
Wiboe has worked for fashion brands like Balenciaga, Y-3 and Loewe, and later on became the Head of Men’s Bag for Loewe from 2014-2015. In 2016, she founded her own fashion and design concept named Wiboe Projects. In her own words, the concept is about freedom and protection, personal space and a place of expression. Personally she likes to find inspiration in uniforms and the freedom they give to the wearer.
In order to find the inspiration for the BACKPACK 01, Wiboe looked at the concept of travelling, which is an essential part of the Totem DNA.
“Looking at vintage trunks and travelling bags paired together with the clean lines of your first product lead me to the final result.” she explains.
Apart from finding inspiration in travelling, the design of the BACKPACK 01 also follows the same design philosophies of the TOTE 01. It carries the signature four buttons on the front facade of the bag with the logo subtly embossed in the centre.
The backpack pens up with a rounded zipper line surrounding the top level, a top handle that allows you to carry the bag in hand and adjustable straps on the back for both men and women. The computer compartment added inside can fit a 15-inch laptop comfortably, and padding is also added for better comfort when wearing the BACKPACK 01, making it an urbanite essential that is stylish, easy and practical.
“As it is a bag that is meant for everyday use, practicality, weight and comfort are very important.”
We also studied specifically the perfect size for a backpack to be suitable for both men and women, and found the perfect balance in our belief. It is just the right size to fit everything you need for the day, and not too big for a girl or not too small for a boy.
Maj Wiboe has a soft spot for sparkly things, rich colours and a beautiful handfeel, but functionality is also important for the designer. She generally sees designing as an opportunity to find innovative solutions to problems. The BACKPACK 01 is a perfect example of this approach.
“As it is a bag that is meant for everyday use, practicality, weight and comfort are very important.” says Maj.
On top of clothing and bag design, Maj Wiboe is also a craftsman in ceramics. Acting as another passion for fine objects and exploring the slightly quirkier side of herself, her ceramic pieces appear rustic but bizarrely beautiful. They seem to have little correlations with her structural, sculptural clothing and bag design, but at the same time connects her playful sensitivity side perfectly with her shielded-utilitarian façade. Her collection, focusing on strength, protection and freedom, is straight-forward and easy to understand.
However, Maj disagrees with this perception, and in fact the philosophy and the language behind her ceramic work are the same. Under the difference in medium and approach, the end product appears much freer and quirky.
“It is a conversation with clay”
The key words for Wiboe Projects are freedom, strength and confidence and I guess that goes both for the people that like my projects, people I collaborate with and for my self.
In some ways the philosophy behind my work has always been to be of service - the things I make have to function on a practical and emotional level. It should be like a great album, you find songs that support you emotionally and songs that you just want to dance to. So if you look at it like that the ceramics and the coats serve different sides of a whole.