Alana Barnes is a fashion designer and creative based in Sydney. We originally met through friends many years ago now when she moved over from Auckland. We sat over many dinners and lunches discussing the range we wanted to create, what we wanted to inspire and the women we were creating for. Alana brought to life a range of powerful pieces that inspire action and taking bold moves.

We are so excited and proud to share this range with everyone! Hear what Alana has to say about how she gets inspired, and how she bought to life this range for us at ARNA. 

Before we move on, do you want to make a pledge to take a Bold Move in 2020? Make your move here. 

What inspired each specific ARNA work or laptop bag design? 

The Play Big Backpack: Designed with practicality and travel in mind, as a keen traveller myself who also travels for work too! I love backpacks as they take the weight off my shoulder, but wanted to have the option to convert it to a side bag as well, so the back straps are detachable so you can wear it any way that you like. Timeless, simple & sleek design with an outside hidden pocket for your phone & passport.

The Ceiling Breaker Workbag: I drew inspiration from high-end, luxury designers. This bag is designed as a feminine briefcase! An elegant structured look with quilted detail. This is a statement piece designed to empower women.

The Take up Space Tote: My dream everyday work - weekend bag, soft folds & edges. Fits my laptop, keep cup & diary - all the essentials for a traveling business woman. 

How does your design process work? 

I begin by researching trends and looking for inspiration on fashion blogs, Pinterest, Instagram etc. I then do pencil sketches of rough ideas, I've always been a hand drawing designer, since school. I find this is the best way to let the creativity naturally flow. Next step is determining measurements for the bag, and drafting up a paper pattern. I then make up a sample, experimenting with techniques as I go. Once happy with the sample, I draw up a design spec sheet in Adobe to send off to our factory!

Hand sketching done by Alana Barnes - fashion designer for ARNAonline Bold moves campaign - work and laptop bags for empowered women, leather, black

Some sketches done for The Play Big Backpack design for the ARNAonline, Bold Moves range. 

What do you love about designing bags and fashion? 

I've always had an eye for fashion design,  I grew up in a family of women who all made their own clothes, painted and drew! I started designing and making my clothes at 5 years old with my Mum. I love being able to bring an idea to life just through pen, paper and my sewing machine! 

What other creative outlets do you have? 

I work full time in Visual Merchandising which allows me to be creative with product in retail spaces, also sharing my knowledge & training with other women in this field, is an aspect I love the most. I also run a digital illustration company with my best friend, Beltedbabes, where we illustrate over photographs and give them a creative makeover.

Beltedbabes illustration by Alana Barnes Fashion Designer for ARNAonline range Bold Moves - women leaders, work and laptop bags for women, leather
What advice would you give to young designers coming through? 

  1. Know what you want.
  2. Find clarity somewhere in the hustle of a creative mind and enjoy the process.
  3. All good things take time.

What other designers inspire you? 

Iris Van Herpen is my current favourite, working with other artists to make beautiful prints translated into her structural but flowing garments. The details are insane!

My top apparel brand or business model is Spell & the Gypsy Collective, I appreciate their ethics, sustainability & transparency they have with their customer. As well as stunning prints every season.

How do you get into a creative headspace? 

Put away any distractions (phone), turn on whatever music first comes to mind for the project I'm working on. I often like to look through my own bag and clothes collections before designing for inspo on technique & design ideas. Reading or doodling is my perfect way of switching off and getting the creative juices flowing.

Alana Barnes Fashion Designer for the ARNAonline Bold Moves range - work and laptop bags for women

Connect with Alana on Facebook
Connect with Alana on Instagram or Beltedbabes
Connect with Alana on LinkedIn

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published