Extra/ordinary Design Workshop and Exhibition, Zagreb, 28 March - 1 April 2011, organised by the School of Design, University of Zagreb, Croatian Designers Association in partnership with URIHO and the Association for Promoting Inclusion (UPI), funded by The British Council, Croatia
The main production at the Uriho garment factory centres on uniforms for the service industries, such as street cleaners, hospital workers, chefs and others in the hospitality industry as well as a small range of other products such as cloth bags and table linen. Uriho serves as a production facility for external orders. Its strength lies in the high quality of manufacture and finish and the capacity to produce large orders. One area of weakness in the work process is that while the machinists are highly skilled, they can only component sew and are thus limited in their individual ability to realise a complete garment.
Their high quality hand-embroidery service is used mainly for the production of flags. The factory has several specialist pieces of equipment such as a computer-controlled embroidery machine used for municipal design logos as well as specialist software for the production of patterns and pattern sizing.
Uriho's Understanding of Design
The word design appears to be synonymous with embellishment. Attempts to introduce design qualities to the production of bags for example are crude with limited market appeal. However, the potential for the area is vast with a willing work force and specialist equipment that operates at a basic level.
From the initial tour of the area and given the time frame involved, the team identified two key areas to develop. We wanted to build on existing ranges and expand these with new design-led product ranges, the first area being service industry uniforms, such as for waiters and waitresses. For this, we created a shirt with classic styling and small considered features that would set it apart from existing products. As a crossover design style, it can exist equally within the service uniform area and that of formal clothing.
The second area we explored was bags as Uriho already make a range of basic bags. We identified a few functions that people like to have such as a secure area for a mobile phone and a compartment that will take a laptop and separate it from other shopping. One design feature is a simple strap and attached clip system, keys can be located easily.
The team looked at the development of a pattern that could be transferred onto the bags utilising the computerised embroidery machine. They also designed a range of printed products. The inspiration came from traditional Croatian textile motifs which were reinterpreted and applied to the bag .
The prototypes we produced are at the first stage of development and need further refinement before they are marketed. Uriho needs to continue to build relationships with designers to develop these ranges. Further developments are planned and design packages have been handed.
We created the brand MI:MI so that this new range of designs can be easily identified. It is hoped that the new products can inspire people to come to Uriho for design-led products increasing their market opportunities. Another area that needs rebranding and design are the Uriho shops which would be a good platform to show these new ranges.