Next in our Summer Maker Series is Philip de los Reyes, owner of a design consultancy with a focus on soft goods design and development. Philip is also the founder and owner of Remote Equipment out of Berkeley, CA. Remote Equipment is a gear company with a singular focus on making the best tools to organize, transport and protect what we carry everyday. We came across Remote Equipment last fall on Instagram. It’s great being able to see behind the scenes of his company through his account.
In a couple of sentences, tell us about yourself:
I’m a career designer with experience in furniture design, housewares and home appliances, and in the past decade, I’ve become more and more of a soft goods expert. I’m originally from Chicago, but have been happily living in the Bay Area for almost 10 years now.
What are you most well-known for, or what do you consider your area of expertise?
I’ve gained a reputation as a hands-on designer that can go far beyond drawings and presentations and help companies get designs that will be production ready.
Who or what inspired you to get into the type of work you do (how did you get started)?
I’ll always hold Ray and Charles Eames on a pedestal for their ingenuity and ability to adapt to new materials and processes, but I’ve also been fortunate to have a wide range of career experiences where I could watch and learn from the leaders of these companies.
How do you describe or categorize yourself?
Simply put, a designer and maker, specializing in soft goods.
From where, or whom, do you draw inspiration?
Much of what inspires me are objects and tools that are created out of necessity. This ruthlessly straightforward approach to satisfying a functional goal, where appearance is secondary feels like pure, unfiltered ingenuity. This exists everywhere from NASA tools, to the way someone zip-ties their car bumper back together. These creations that have little to know visual consideration can be great entry points for new ideas.
What are the OLFA tools that you use for your craft?
Right now I use the 28mm and 45mm rotary cutters. I keep picking up new ones as I learn what they each can do. These are used on a variety of backpack fabrics from 200d nylon to multi-layer sail fabrics.
What is your favorite OLFA tool and why?
The 28mm rotary cutter is like a precision scalpel and perfect for cutting small and complex fabric shapes.
When do you do your most creative work?
Mornings are great for catching up on email then afternoons are my time to get real work done. But the “aha” moments often come late at night when I’m thinking about bags instead of sleeping.
What is something most people would be surprised to know about you?
As of now both businesses are operated out of one room in my home. It gets a little crazy at times, but I’m proud to take this room from a sample room one day to a photo studio the next.
What is your favorite project or piece of work you are most proud of?
This is always changing, but I’m very proud of the ALPHA 31 backpack, the first bag to carry the Remote Equipment name. While I’ve tackled almost every step from design to production on other designs, it’s rare to take a bag through the entire process by yourself. It’s been amazing to take the ALPHA 31 from a sketch to patterns and samples and now to production without letting it out of my site.
What other hobbies do you enjoy?
Photography. I’ve always loved taking pictures and geeking out over all the technical stuff behind film and digital cameras. As a hobby it’s proven to be a helpful tool to share my story for both businesses.
What do you do when you need to take a break from what you typically do?
One of the best parts of working for yourself is managing your own time and it’s great to stop in the middle of the day and go for a quick run. The mid-day energy boost becomes almost addictive.
NOTE: Remote Equipment has started using the OLFA Endurance Blade for their work and here’s what they have to say:
“I’m liking them quite a bit! Many of the materials I cut for prototype samples are heavy, multi-layer backpack materials and I’m getting a noticeably longer lifespan out of each blade.”
Be sure to check out more of Remote Equipment online:
Facebook: Remote Equipment
You Tube: REMOTE EQUIPMENT