Badly Designed ‘Functional’ Products

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I use the hell out of my things – clothes have to be effortless, handbags need to be practical, shoes must be comfortable, Filofaxes need to be workhorses. I walk a lot, travel by public transport, travel a lot (economy) so things really need to be functional and hardwearing.

I often wonder how companies get away with impractical versions of functional items. Take the handbag above – the McQueen Heroine. It looks absolutely stunning – beautifully designed and minimalistic. For the £1600 price tag you would expect it to work properly as well. Errr – nope! The flap top is a faff to undo – you would never be able to open it and close it properly again without huge effort. The opening is too narrow to get anything in and out without a major struggle. And if you undo the zip the bag’s shape just falls apart.  Didn’t anyone road test it beforehand? Or is it supposed to be only for ladies who lunch who never need to take anything out of their bag?


Now when it comes to the Filofax Original there are small rumblings in the ranks that they don’t work all that well. The strap is a little short, the edges of the leather are rubbed and wear quickly where the strap closure meets the edge, lighter colours are easily marked.


The Temperley IKAT (above) is another example of that. It is supposed to function as both a Filofax and a party purse. BUT ….the fancy decorative button is not visible when the zip is closed, the front flyleaf sticks to the plastic inside of the binder  and you have to scrabble to get it off, the card that is supposed to make the planner section removable slides around when it is inside the bag. Not to mention that the colours run when wet. How can a British company make a Filofax that runs in wet weather? Not to mention the fact that the workmanship is really shoddy.

The question is again – doesn’t anybody road test these products for usability before they hit the shelves? Surely there is at least one sample copy that someone could test before letting it loose on the public? Filofax know about the Philofaxy community. They could give a few sample copies for road testing before products are released without bankrupting themselves, surely?

Author: Janet Carr

Fashion, beauty and animal loving language consultant from South Africa living in Stockholm, Sweden.

2 thoughts

  1. I like your post on the handbag. I really like totes. I am glad that you inspected this handbag, I would have never inspected the way you did. I see that front shot and it does look kinda funny looking. And you say when it is unzipped there is no shape( or something like that). Are you telling us that it just falls open and wide so everything can spill out? I believe I’ll be trying to check out a bag more closely from now on. Thanks for the advice.

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