Upcycle. Have you heard of that term? I know about recycling but the word upcycle only came into my vocabulary a few years ago when I was introduced to the brand Looptworks. To illustrate what upcycling is, let’s start with a story: Imagine you are visiting a factory that makes jeans. They start out with large rolls of denim, cut out patterns, and sew the pants, right? On the floor, you’ll find what’s left of the process – literally tons of scraps that are often thrown away as trash.
The word may be foreign but you sure grasp the concept. Take material that is going to be thrown away and turn it into something usable. This is distinctly different from recycling, which involves taking usable products like plastic bottles and turning them into other bottles.
The team at Looptworks, one of the pioneers of upcycling, sent me a 10-inch Hoptu Laptop sleeve to check out. As the name implies, it’s for (very) small laptops but really it’s designed for the iPad. It’s made from excess wetsuit material and the goldfish color I received screams Nemo. This thing is bright! The finish is excellent and I could find nary a loose thread or loose stitching. I did notice some slight fraying of the neoprene near the zipper, though. There’s this cool contrast stitching on the front and two small pockets which are perfect for your keys, some change or the Apple power adapter and cable. They are actually large enough to fit both items into one slot, leaving the other pocket open.
The Hoptu is nicely padded but not excessively so. I think it’s just the right amount to protect your iPad without adding too much bulk. There is a good space between the top of the zipper and the tablet, though a little too much for my taste. I think a future version could look to trim it down a bit. The handy loop on the end is easy to grab on to when you pull it out of your bag, or alternately a way to secure it if you are walking around the house with it.
I really like the idea behind Looptworks and in the case of the Hoptu they turned a good idea into a good, usable, and attractive product. I hope we see more items from them and other companies looking to upcycle.
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