Sydney Rogers — The SyRo Tote
Sydney Rogers and John Fiorentino can probably still point out the bench in Washington Square Park where they conceived the idea for the SyRo Tote.
The two were undergraduates at NYU when Fiorentino pitched a broad concept for a bag that fused fashion, design and technology. It clicked with Rogers and the next day she started sketching out different designs, quickly forming and refining a creative vision for the product.
“I was so obsessed with the concept that I just wanted to make one for myself, without really thinking of its greater potential,” Rogers said. “I wanted to create something that no one had created before.”
The SyRo Tote serves as a vehicle to display digital art on an iPad. The Sydney Rogers iPad app allows users to select a video or upload one that will play while the iPad sits safely inside the leather bag. It is a fashion piece with a technological component, not “wearable tech,” as some have called it. Rogers approached the bag from a traditional fashion design perspective.
“I have always wanted to create things that excite and wow people, and the SyRo Tote does that in the most perfect way,” Rogers said. “It embodies exactly what I want the Sydney Rogers brand to always stand for: bold, exciting, and awe inspiring design that creates a truly unique experience.”
Rogers, who was born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland, graduated from NYU in May, as did Fiorentino, who grew up in Andover, Massachusetts.
The two met freshman year when Fiorentino noticed Rogers’ sweatshirt, which she had designed, and became close as sophomores when they discussed their aspirations at length.
The now 22-year-olds talked about their interests and realized that her creative vision combined with his business acumen fit perfectly if they wanted to start a business.
After they developed the idea for the SyRo Tote, they started the business while in school, which proved difficult at times.
“There were days during finals week when I thought I was going to drop dead but as always, you manage and find yourself coming out of it stronger,” Rogers said.
Fiorentino, who earned a degree in Entrepreneurship, handles the business side of the operation.
“We try to keep the roles very defined and separate but we actually work very well as a combined team,” Fiorentino told Graphis. “Sydney has a very good instinct for how she wants her brand to be perceived and also has a natural feel for business, and I try to always keep myself knowledgeable with the current trends and aesthetics that people are responding to so I can give my input on the design side as well.”
Rogers and Fiorentino have big plans for the company’s future and Rogers said that she is working on some “very cool new products.”
“I am beside myself and can hardly wait to show the public,” she told Graphis.
To learn more about the SyRo Tote, visit the Sydney Rogers website here.
Sydney Rogers is a new Graphis contributor, whose SyRo Tote product design was submitted to the Graphis Design Annual 2015.
The Graphis Design Competition features the most compelling and influential design of the year. To submit your work to the Design Annual 2016 competition, click here.