Updated: Feb 5, 2021
The Swiss company Freitag, famous for its iconic bags and backpacks, creates “artificially” unique items made from truck tarps and plastic bottles
Freitag’s basic idea is to make something useful from waste, combining the vision of circular economy with though products that are functional and stylish; bags that are fun to use in the everyday life. The result is new bags that reinvent sport, spontaneous shopping trips, strolls through the city, and other standard urban situations, while always keeping the spotlight on individuality.
A highly time-consuming part of the project was the hunt for materials that would combine harmoniously with the individual truck tarps and uphold Freitag’s principles of upcycling and functionality. After a lot of research and a whole raft of tests, the material was found: a PFC-free fabric made from 100% recycled PET, made by their partner “We aRe SpinDye”.
This fabric is colored during spinning using the spinneret technique, requiring a lot less in terms of water, energy, and chemicals than the traditional piece dyeing procedure.
Where do all the tarps come from? There isn’t a market for old tarps, and the research is consequently very difficult. Freitag has specialized employees who look for tarps and organize their pick-up, buying only used tarps that are on a truck for about five years on average. Once at the factory, they are stretched out and all the unusable parts, like straps, grommets, and damaged sections of fabric, are removed.
The tarps are cleaned using washing machines, connected to roof-top rainwater collectors, and the manufacturing process begins. Handmade cuts are made and then employees sew them together following the designs. Once the pieces are sewn together, the bag is done: simple, modern, resistant, and fashionable.
Furthermore, the brand has developed a new material called F-ABRIC, which leads the F-ABRIC apparel to the market. This is a textile made from fibers (flax and hemp) and modal produced in Europe using a far less amount of resources.
The choice of Freitag to pursue a compostable solution was dictated by the need to revive a new, self-developed material from forgotten fibers. It is comforting to know that, thanks to the compostable textiles, all the resources used will be part of a cycle once again, just as the truck tarps.
“In 1978, our father showed us how a compost heap works and how much fun it is to think and act in terms of cycles. This gave rise to the idea that in a best-case scenario, something new and useful can be created from rubbish. Since I have never driven a car in my life but have always cycled, I know that you sometimes need strong, water-repellent, functional bags to get through life. Since in Switzerland in 1993, you still couldn’t buy a bicycle courier bag, my brother and I decided to make some ourselves.”, said Markus Freitag, co-founder of Freitag together with his brother Daniel.