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Q&A: Creating a Jacket That Turns Into a Tote

If you’re the type of person who hates stowing your jacket in coat checks and chair backs, the dynamic duo behind fashion brand Covert NYC may have the answer. Gracie Tirro and Morgan Schlaugies, two recent graduates of the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) in New York created a $175 faux leather moto jacket that transforms into a drawstring tote bag in seconds. I spoke with the women about their creation and what’s next for the young company.

Q: How did you come up with the idea for the convertible jacket?

Morgan Schlaugies: The idea came to mind when I was going out to a concert back in college. I was so frustrated that I had to carry around my jacket all night because the line for coat check wasn’t worth waiting for. I thought, wouldn’t it be great if I could just fold my jacket up into a cute bag? This would solve the problem of carrying around a bulky jacket ruining your night out.

Q: How difficult was it to go from concept to reality?

Gracie Tirro: Once we had the idea, it seemed to work effortlessly from the start. I went out to get materials for Morgan, we worked on the jacket for the day. Morgan already had the concept of how she wanted to do it prior to even starting the first prototype.

Q: How long does it take to convert the jacket into a bag and vice versa?

GT: It takes about 15 to 20 seconds each way.

Q: What kind of feedback have you been receiving for the jacket?

GT: We’ve been receiving a lot of positive feedback with the concept and design of the jacket. Most people are instantly hooked when they see the jacket convert into a bag. It’s not only effortless and convenient, but it has a fashion element too. There isn’t a product quite like Covert in the market, and we are always excited to see how animated people are talking about it.

Q:  What’s Covert NYC’s origin story?

GT: I went to FIT, where I met Morgan. I received my bachelor’s in entrepreneurship for fashion. For my senior year, I had to present a business project. I wasn’t sure what to do, so I asked Morgan and a friend if they had any ideas. That’s when they told me about their frustration at dealing with their jackets while out on the town. They wished there was a jacket that could easily convert into a bag. I loved the idea and asked Morgan if she could come up with a prototype. After presenting the plan in class, I knew this was something that I could really pursue. The first thing I did was reach out to a patent lawyer to protect the concept. Once we were legally protected, we had a prototype company help create the first sell-able jacket-bag. From there, I connected with a manufacturer in California to help create a bulk order. We got our site up and running and have been working on it ever since. 

MS: Going to FIT, you’re surrounded by fashion, but Covert NYC is my first true experience designing. I’m a self-taught sewer, which helped with creating the first prototype for Gracie’s class project. My background in textile and surface design worked harmoniously with Gracie’s business experience in order to create an innovative product.

Q: What can we expect from Covert in the future? Any big plans on the horizon?

GT: Yes! We are currently working on expanding the collection with our second design. Also, we are going to be introducing a men's line. We feel they would be a great addition to the covert audience.

MS: Once we finalized the concept of how the jacket converts into a bag, the possibilities are endless. I’m excited to get started on Fall 2018, bringing in new colors, styles and fabrics.