An avid proponent of the creative life, long-time Gold Coaster Aidan Ryan is taking on everything that the universe can throw at him. A multi-tasker is the simplest way to describe Aidan: with his work in photography, video, the odd bit of skateboarding and now his new company Rascal Ltd. Pack Co. taking up the majority of his time.He sat down at Griffith University – did we mention he’s a full-time student as well – to chat with Jake Wilton about what on earth Rascal Ltd. Pack Co actually is.

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Born from an under-thought assignment project, Rascal is a homemade creative’s dream which specialises in the designing and making of backpacks, pouches, wallets and tote bags. Here’s the kicker: every pack or wallet is handmade, one-of-a-kind and designed to your liking. Inspired by street wear and a dream of bringing something inventive to the market, Aidan felt the over abundance of street fashion was becoming too much of the same.

“It started out being something for me. Then I saw how everyone else could benefit from these packs,” said Aidan.

Made with love in every stitch, Aidan sources upcycled materials by sifting through every op shop, button bin and fabric basket he can come across. All the materials used in these packs come from another person’s collection, and Aidan finds true solace in reusing these treasured goods. “The beauty of it is that every bag is different in their own way. Chances are you’re not going to see the same one twice in public,” Aidan assures us. “I think it’s really nice how you can bring something back to life with a repurposed idea.”

Aidan’s passion for uniqueness within his designs is incredibly gratifying. His backpacks – created with quilt covers, fabric designs and sometimes even curtain material – contain patterns making a return from the dusty corners of a loved one’s attic during their 70’s floral phase. Designed around a drawstring satchel, the packs come together with an overhead flap with two large, appealing buttons on the front.

Without giving away his favourite op shop locations, Aidan has found that his hometown of Toowoomba literally has the goods when it comes to his frantic pattern and fabric hunts.

“There are a lot of retirees there so I guess most of them would drop off their old fabrics from back in the day. At the moment, my girlfriend’s grandma has chests full of fabric in her garage so we’ve recently just raided it,” reveals Aidan.

The usual congregation of creatives from around the world is typically assembled on Etsy – an online marketplace for any alternative fashion pieces you could possibly think of. Aidan instead found Rascal’s image to be more inimitable and personable than the more bland Etsy webstore. After crafting his own image and aesthetic through a new website, Aidan launched Rascal with a charming welcome video created from scratch.

The video screams a driving sense of home-felt passion for the Gold Coast. Skateboarders cruising down the sun-tinged boardwalks, surfers passing by and Rascal packs on backs all tied together with a washed out fade.

“You see it everywhere with today’s fashion – it’s white t-shirt, black skate shoes and jeans. Really simple stuff. I’m trying to break out and have people express themselves through my backpacks with the vibrancy and strong colours,” says Aidan.

“You can tell they’re handmade, for instance you might find a crooked thread. The fun part about it is it’s not a mass-produced, factory-made backpack it’s something that one person has made,” says Aidan with pride.

The future of Rascal is coming direct from Aidan’s hands (and blood, sweat and tears) to yours. As for the prospect of expanding, Aidan is taking his time with Rascal right now but could develop its potential after university.

“Working for myself is really fun but really scary at the same time. Not many people can do it but being able to say that I’ve done it would be a really great feeling. I would consider it a side project for whatever I’m doing in the world but I guess we’ll see how it goes,” dreams Aidan.

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