What do fire hoses, plastic bottles, bicycle tires, seat belts, juice cartons, fishing nets, advertising banners and truck tarpaulins have in common? Yup, they’re all used for making bags. There’s a lot going on right now in using recycled materials to make bags and carry items, which is helping to raise a lot of environmental awareness in the carry scene too. We’ve dug around in eco-carry items and brands to find out what’s happening at what level of quality out there!
There’s a gazillion initiatives out there from people making cool carry items out of recycled materials: wallets made out of juice cartons, bags made out of post-office bags and so on and so on. For this category, we’re going to dedicate a separate post on the coolest stuff we’ve found out there. Keep your suggestions coming!
Existing brands jumping on the eco-movement
Carry brands focused on recycled materials
There’s a new range of brands specifically aimed at carry from recycled materials and they’re really making a name for themselves. We’re going to go into a couple of these brands right now. Prepare to be blown away by their design and quality! In most cases, these brands apply their recycle philosophy throughout the brand experience, from in-store materials to packaging
King of the recycled-materials carry brands is undoubtedly Freitag. The Swiss manufacturer has been in the market since 1993 making bags and carry items out of truck tarpaulins, seat belts and bicycle tires. Starting with a range of messengers and wallets, they expanded to office bags, iPhone and iPad sleeves, backpacks, weekenders and more. Every bag is unique as Freitag uses used tarpaulins with different colors and logos.
Freitag has given a lot of attention to the brand communication and packaging of their products. They’ve opened a few flagship stores in places such as Hamburg, Zurich, New York and Tokyo dedicated to the brand. Freitag sports “shop-in-shop” concepts in eco-stores all over Europe and the rest of the world. The bags are packed in cardboard boxes that can be transformed into cardboard TVs (although we’re not sure about the exact use of that ). On every box is a color photograph that displays the specific colors and pattern of the bag inside.
Some years ago Freitag added their Reference line, which encompasses more high-end bags. We love them for their style and uniqueness…
And we’ve featured Freitag’s Ben office bag in our Office Bag post earlier this year!
Elvis and Kresse
Elvis and Kresse is a London-based company making bags and belts mostly from used fire hoses. The materials make for sturdy, very water-resistant (duh…) bags that are well designed and built. Their philosophy for using recycled materials is in every part of the product: the bags are wrapped in waste tea sacks for shipping and in-store promotional items are made from old pallets. Even the product labels are printed on end-of-line labels on old shoe boxes and the string is strands of old coffee sack!
Cyclus is a Colombian brand, founded in 2000 by two graduates in Industrial Design. They make bags and accessories, mostly out of recycled inner tyres. Next to more conventional bags, they feature some really wild designs like the Pangolina and the Tatou
Feuerwear is based in Köln, Germany and makes carry items such as bags, wallets and belts from used fire hoses, albeit German fire hoses that are red and white (vs. Elvis and Kresse’s English orange/reddish fire hoses!) Feuerwear was started by two brothers in 2005 and they’ve built a respectable line of products since then.
Mari Cla Ro
We first found Mari Cla Ro on Etsy and were blown away by their classic designs and high-value materials. Mari Cla Ro is a Toronto-based company that makes bags out of car materials and furniture. Think car seat and furniture leather, seat belts and air bags. For their limited edition, they even state its origin (1980 Mercedes 300SD anyone?). If you can’t afford the car, at least you can have the bag that was made out of it…
As always, we’re not assuming to fully cover the subject, so make sure to comment on anything we left out!