Accessory Design

The specialization is an option within the curriculum of Fashion, Textile and Accessory Design.

A high quality Accessory Design education

Accessory design finds itself in the crossroads of different design practices – it has a common thread with fashion and textile design but also product design and materials science. The curriculum concentrates on the design and technologies of bags, footwear, gloves, headwear etc, using sustainable means and innovation. The curriculum also has bookbinding projects, which give necessary skills for designing and creating exclusive small products, artefacts and other art projects. New skills and technologies are acquired working with technologies which use leather, wood, metal, textile and other materials but experimenting is done also with biomass, 3d plastics, silicone, recycled plastic and so on.

An education with a long history

The Estonian Art Academy Accessory and Bookbinding department saw its beginnings in 1917, in a previous incarnation of the university – the Tallinn City Industry and Art School, where an accessory and cardboard workshop was opened. Its director Eduard Taska was educated in Paris, Munich and Saint-Petersburg. The academy’s applied art fields were moved under the design faculty which brought many changes to the curriculum.

How does learning take place?

The department prioritizes an applicable broad-based approach and its unique niche. Integration of new technologies to the studies is valued as well as developing collaborations with the industry and integrating developments in sustainability to the curriculum. All while finding a balance between the technical and handicraft skills. Lastly developing conceptual and critical thinking in the students and broadening an international network is integral.

Accessory Design is a rapidly changing field – developments in technology and the UN’s sustainable development directives demand ever-innovative solutions for the industry. Experts in the field must renew their skills and knowledge constantly.

Specialization in the field is supported by traditional technologies along with contemporary methods and lectures. Tools of design are also acquired together with students from product, fashion and textile design. The objective of the department for the graduate student is the ability to adapt to the changing work market, and for the student to value and apply a scientific-based approach in their future career.

In the general curricula the students will acquire knowledge which support an artist/designer’s creativity and obtain skills required for working independently, in a team or collaborating with a client. The specialized studies concentrate on developing a unique and personal design language of the student and supporting the growth and development for creativity and craftsmanship skills with international potential. During the studies, skills are acquired for the formulation and solving of problems and creating a field of meaning to the creations. Furthermore, the realization of ideas by digital and hands-on approaches are encouraged through creative research supported by science, cultural and design theories.

Connecting entrepreneurship

We invite and visit others! Entrepreneurship is connected through practical courses and workhops and with visits to companies. This way students will get a sense of the production cycles in Estonia and abroad. The department collaborates on projects with businesses which belong to the field of accesories, materials (material development and science) and product design. Recent projects include creating accessories for fashion brands (Ivo Nikkolo, KÄT, KIRA), but also product design (An addible accessory design for the Tuul e-bike, MagneticMRO plane accessory). We collaborate with and invite internationally recognized brands and businesses. Projects and workshops have been held by designers and representatives of ECCO, Camper and adidas. 

Bachelor’s level curriculum

The BA level consists of specialized, general, elective and free-choice courses. During specialized courses base technologies are acquired which are solidified through working on projects like footwear design, novelty-collection and others. Specialized courses cover traditional handicraft skills (like upholstery technologies) but also virtual design tools (creating a collection in Clo3d), which allows the students to find their own place in the fascinating world of accessory design. From creating small products to working as a designer in a big name brand. Courses are led by industry professionals from Estonia and abroad. Through the studies enrichment trips abroad are organized, where students get familiarized with international accessory design trends and technologies (e.g the Lineapelle fair in Italy) and education (visiting guest universities), exhibitions and the cultural and art landscapes at large. The Bachelor’s studies is 3 years which culminate in the creation of an author’s collection and a portfolio.

Future prospects

The Accessory Design course enables one to work as a designer, start a career as an independent manufacturer or apply oneself to a related field like product design, trend analysis, buying, color and/or material design (sustainability and the development of new materials). The graduates will be skillful, creative, independent and ambitious designers. The field supports the development of a personal design philosophy and gives the graduate an international competitive edge. Thanks to good preparation, some of our graduates work with world recognized brands such as adidas, Bottega Veneta, Louis Vuitton, Trussardi and Jil Sander. Many graduates lead their own personal brands: Stella Soomlais stuudio, Mokoko, Piret Loog, Kadri Kruus, Kuula+Jylhä, Riina Õung, Ikigi and many others. 

News and events

Jordi Closa

Jordi Closa / Adidas Maker Lab: “Go Hack Yourself!”

Open Design Lecture: “Go Hack Yourself!” by Jordi Closa / Adidas Maker Lab In the dynamic world of arts and design, where innovation is the heartbeat of progress, we often find ourselves facing complex challenges that demand fresh perspectives and out-of-the-box thinking. That’s where hacking steps in—a powerful and transformative problem-solving tool that can revolutionize the way we ...
Thomas Ayme newsletter

Thomas Ayme / Adidas Originals: “From Numbers to Sneakers”

Morning Coffee: “From Numbers to Sneakers – Unconventional Design Story” by Thomas Ayme / Adidas Originals Thomas Ayme is a French footwear color-and-material designer currently working at adidas Originals. However, his journey as a designer was not straightforward and began in a very different field. After graduating in Mathematics, Economics, and Finance, Thomas joined Adidas, initiating ...
Marta Konovalovi parandamispraktika

Narratives from Prolonged Engagements

Exhibition ”Narratives from Prolonged Engagements” Marta Konovalov The exhibition ”Narratives from Prolonged Engagements” investigates our relationships with clothing and textiles from the perspective of mending with the aim to widen the boundaries of a garment's use time and aesthetics. Here the creative practice of Marta Konovalov is being displayed alongside narratives embodied in wear and ...
Jaana Päeva

Experience-driven practice-based research on handbag design principles

The project focuses on exploring experience-driven design principles that extend the product lifespan by using emotional attachment. This creative research focuses on the relationships between memories preserved in perceptions and product descriptions to understand how products are perceived and experienced, which experiences become long-lasting memories, what emotions trigger remembrance, ...
anthony luciano

Open lecture: Anthony Luciano

Thursday, 28th of September at 17.30 Anthony Luciano, a New York based leather designer and entrepreneur will give an inspirational lecture about vintage handbags and building a small business in New York. Anthony Luciano, a first-generation New Yorker of Italian descent, brings together artistry and family heritage. Raised in a family of skilled artisans, where his mother and grandmother ...

“From Taska Workshop to the Present Day” in EKA Library

On Monday, 18th September, the EKA Library will open an exhibition to present the results of the artistic research project „The Reconstruction and Artistic Development of the Historical Relief Print Technique“. The starting point of the study is the relief printing technique used in the workshop of leather artist and bookbinder Eduard Taska in 1924. The technique is currently unknown but ...

“Wearable 3D Printed Shoes” Workshop by Footwearology Lab

On August 19th till 26th, 2023 a workshop on creating shoe design concepts in 2D and 3D format created with the help of various generative AI applications was held at EKA, invited by the Accessory Design Department. The aim of the course guided by the international Footwearology Lab was to introduce the future of footwear design and manufacturing through the combination of artificial ...
martakonovalov_artefaktid_Piltnik Kärt_veeb-84

panel discussion “Reflections on the Act of Improvement in the Context of Sustainability”

The panel discussion “Reflections on the Act of Improvement in the Context of Sustainability” within the Transform4Europe week will be conducted by Marta Konovalov, Maris Taul and Anna-Maria Saar. The open discussion focuses on how remediation can promote sustainability and circularity. In the discussion round, the audience is invited to discuss their role in the relationship with ...