Kiwi fashion designer gets creative to avoid baggage charges


Have you ever arrived at the airport worried about the weight of your carry-on? I’ve certainly been the person frantically stuffing pockets with heavier items from my bag to get the weight down.

Kiwi designer Bruno Harding has taken that one step further.

When he and his wife decided to return to New Zealand after living in Berlin for 18 months, they faced the task of packing their lives into suitable suitcases.

Read: How to avoid paying baggage fees

Mr Harding found he was almost 7kg over his baggage limit and decided to get creative.

Being a fashion designer by trade, it wasn’t too hard for him to come up with a concealed and comfy solution. Mr Harding headed to his local flea market to pick up a few metres of nylon to create what looks like a puffer jacket.

Instead of feathers though, this puffer jacket would be stuffed with 6.8kg of clothing.

Mr Harding shared footage of the jacket being “unpacked” in a brilliant stop-motion video, which said, “Twenty-nine carefully folded items of clothing, 6.8kgs successfully worn home. This is the outcome of that predicament. The travel coat.”

Mr Harding successfully wore the coat on his flight home in November 2020. He told Stuff, “I always thought it would be quite an interesting idea. I did a bit of research into people who had failed doing similar things, like wearing five coats and five pairs of jeans and looking kind of ridiculous.”

Read: Tips to keep your bag under 7kg

The designer said the key to his success was in the way he folded the clothing before putting it in the jacket, which took inspiration from a folding method made famous by Japanese organising expert Marie Kondo.

“The first few times … I just shoved it with clothes, and it looked ridiculous,” Mr Harding said.

“I looked like a suspicious human who had stolen lots of goods who was trying to leave a store.”

He likened wearing the jacket to being wrapped in a weighted blanket, which he said was quite calming, especially since he was nervous about his plan failing.

He knew it was a possibility so had a backup plan in place – a friend coming to pick the jacket up from an airport locker.

In the end, no-one noticed a thing, probably because passengers were also required to wear face masks and full-face shields.

Unfortunately, Mr Harding won’t be releasing the jacket under his label so if you’re in the market for one, you might have to get sewing.

Read: 13 airport mistakes we all make

Mr Harding typically specialises in a different type of jacket. He designs and creates beautiful one-of-a-kind pieces made from recycled and repurposed materials. Many of his creations are made from pieces of vintage wool blankets and are constructed in Auckland, New Zealand.

What do you think of the travel jacket? Would you ever try to get away with something similar? Why not share your packing tips in the comments section below?

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Written by Ellie Baxter

Writer and editor with interests in travel, health, wellbeing and food. Has knowledge of marketing psychology, social media management and is a keen observer and commentator on issues facing older Australians.

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