POKIT IN THE EARLY DAYS

 

"The Japanese market has always welcomed new design ideas with open arms way before we Brits can get our heads around them. Pokit is a case in point: it produces British-designed and -manufactured accessories that have enjoyed real success in Japan, are only now - three years on - taking off over here. The Key to Pokit is their re-working of classic items or materials, and their eye for the finer details, something that the Japanese are suckers for. One of their signature bags is a hybrid of a cyclingt waist pouch and an old-fashioned fishing satchel.  Its ergonomic shape has curved seams, and angled zip and an off-centred strap, yet it's made in canvas with a leather trim by a traditional bag maker in the Midlands.
"The Japanese market has always welcomed new design ideas with open arms way before we Brits can get our heads around them. Pokit is a case in point: it produces British-designed and -manufactured accessories that have enjoyed real success in Japan, are only now - three years on - taking off over here. The Key to Pokit is their re-working of classic items or materials, and their eye for the finer details, something that the Japanese are suckers for. One of their signature bags is a hybrid of a cyclingt waist pouch and an old-fashioned fishing satchel.  Its ergonomic shape has curved seams, and angled zip and an off-centred strap, yet it's made in canvas with a leather trim by a traditional bag maker in the Midlands.

Neither of Pokit's founders - Bayode Oduwole and Claire Pringle - has either formal design training or any practical manufacturing skills: Oduwole studied pharmaceutical sciences and Pringle has an MA in Japanese studies. This has a bearing on how the products are realised as the two rely on specialists, almost exclusively British-based, who work to their specifications. It also menas that Oduwole and Pringle are not always constrained by conventional ideas or techniques, and will push their makers for new ways of working and new shapes and fabrics; one hat, for example, is makde from the material used for convertible car roofing.
Some of the designs have remained the same through the years. The nylon record/laptop cases and the tiny 'pokitbook' bag are enduring styles, and were chosen by the Design Museum shop during its Buckminster Fuller exhibition last year. This meticulous design doesn't come cheap - prices start at around £70 for a bag. But if you compare Pokit with established names in British luxury goods (and the quality is comparable) their prices seem fair, particularly as you are buying something that isn't a one-season wonder.
The whole experience of Pokit adds to this aura of exclusivity. Although they do sell in Something, the bulk of the collection can only be bought by appointment at their showroom/studio space in West London. But don't be intimidated by this approach - the space is friendly and intimate.'It has allowed us the opportunity to represent our whole philosophy in our own environment,' says Oduwole. 'When our typical customer makes the trip to come and visit, although they are often a little bemused by the off-key location, they enjoy the privacy of the space "far from the madding crowd",' he adds. 'But the ultimate buzz is when sceptical customers try things they would not normally wear and they like it.'

Time Out, London, January 2002