How does a Better Wallet = Better Car Design?

So what is a automotive designer supposed to do when they discover they cannot find the perfect wallet?  Before answering that question, let me digress a bit.  The best part of my passion for automobiles hasn’t been the many, many projects I have worked on over the years.  The best part is the fantastic people I have met. And in the case of my consulting business and this blog, I have met a ton of awesome and talented auto designers.  Every now and then they even let me hang out, and the ensuing conversations always turn to passion.  Passion for the job? sure, but usually the discussion turns to passion for solving some other problem.  Which brings me back to the wallet…….

midnight_passport_6_1024x1024The obvious answer is obvious of course(1).  You make your own.  In this particular case, the designer is Jacques Flynn of Mazda and luckily for the rest of us, he made more than one. 

saddle_ipad_1_1024x1024Flynn started JAQET in 2012 to focus on 100% hand made leather men’s accessories.  He always enjoyed fashion and fashion design so when he was disappointed in the offerings he found it just seemed natural that he would experiment with making his own.  The result is spectacular – and completely unlike the typical products you find in a store.

ipadJAQET products have a simple and consistent design philosophy – such as their slim, and minimal wallets.  All products are 100% handmade in house in southern California.  A small team handles most of the production, from individually dying the leather to meticulously hand crafting each piece.  The stuff you buy in a store? Typically it is made in a factory off shore and the leather is purchased from other outside suppliers.  When producing their leather, the supplier may not even know what kind of product will be using it.  In situations like this, where design intent is so remote from production, execution often suffers.

smoke_ipad_mini_1_1024x1024Of course, when Flynn started this experiment as “an outlet for me to create my vision without any interruption” he had no idea what it would grow into.  Business is “nuts” and the JAQET brand can now be found at various boutiques around the world, has been featured in New York and Los Angeles Fashion Weeks and has recently been added to the stocklist at the MOCA (Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles).

blaq_landscape_5_grandeHe commented that thanks to his team, he can concentrate on the design and business side which has “been eye opening to say the least”.  On the design side the overlap between passion for car design and the work on building JAQET has been beneficial to both sides.  From what we see, even though cars and wallets are different, what is learned from one seems to make the other better.  A lot of automotive studio work focuses on the branding and that leads directly into efficiently communicating a brand’s story of core philosophies through design.  As Flynn told us “good design comes down to one major idea, and that is what’s the story.  Designers should always ask why and be able to answer that quickly and efficiently.  If you can do that, then you have something. It may lead to nothing or be shelved quickly, but at least you can have that vision and guide your proposal in the proper direction.”


saddle_lifestyle_portrait_1_1024x1024If you are a designer working in the transportation industry and have a passionate side project we would love to hear from you.  We firmly believe that have passion in areas outside the studio should be celebrated because well-rounded interests contribute to making better designs – and in the end isn’t that what is important?

And if you wish to purchase JAQET product, go here.

redwood_card_lifestyle_1_1024x1024(1) Note! the double use of ‘obvious’ is purposeful.  Enallage is a literary term for intentionally making a grammatical mistake for emphasis.  Don’t say we never taught you anything.  Now the next step is to try and work that into your next clay walk-around.  

About Frank Schwartz

Frank Schwartz is the founder of and Advanced Automotive Consulting Services, partner in The Middlecott Sketchbattle Experiment and serial entrepeneur. A long time automotive enthusiast, Frank started reading car magazines at the age of 8 and has spent 30+ years working inside the automotive industry. In his spare time Frank races with the Sports Car Club of America, spends time working on his numerous project cars and supports many local charities.
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