Carry the load

Dennis Chuene has designed a multipurpose bag that aims to bring dignity to the less fortunate.

Part of the Project

Dennis Chuene has designed a multipurpose backpack that evokes a sense of nostalgia for the commonly used shopper. 

South African designer Chuene’s Nostalgia bag and sweater are inspired by the ubiquitous use of what some refer to as the “china bag” sold by street vendors across South Africa. The bags, with their distinct tartan-like pattern, become a carry-all for everything including shopping, street stall wares and luggage for long trips. 

Chuene observed everyday behaviours that informed his designs. Due to the size of these bags they become very heavy and hard to carry by hand and people tend to carry them over their shoulder. This inspired him to design a backpack that resembles the traditional “china bag”.

He has further appropriated the design of the backpack into a range of jerseys that sport the same tartan-like pattern.

My designs tell a story of people’s hardship and aims to remind people of what was, what is and what can be, says Chuene.

The Nostalgia bag and sweater were featured as part of Design Indaba Expo’s Africa is Now exhibition under the theme “Africa is Transformed”, which looked at how Africans have a make-do approach to materiality, transforming what’s at hand unto unexpected objects and designs that delight.