A few months ago I wrote a small article about Swiss company Freitag and their marvellous bags. Since then that has been the second most requested article on this site. If you don’t know about Freitag, they make bags and other cool stuff out of old truck tarpaulins, you know, the brightly coloured curtains you see on the sides of lorries, as well as used car seat belts and bicycle inner tubes. It’s recycling in a very creative way, and because the materials they are recycling are tough, so are the products that they make. Each piece is made from an original tarpaulin, so every single product has an individual design. If Freitag didn’t use these materials, they would probably end up in landfill.
The company was started by Markus and Daniel Freitag, both brothers and graphic designers. They both rode bikes, and being designers carried their designs around with them. They needed something to keep the designs dry whilst on the bike. So, inspired by the designs on the sides of the trucks they saw around them, they took an old truck tarpaulin, a car seat belt and an old bicycle inner tube and sewed them together to make a waterproof messenger bag. They had stumbled on a hit, and now Freitag bags are sold (and copied) all over the world.
Now produced in a factory in downtown Zurich with jobs for 60 people, Freitag take the tarpaulins, wash them and then cut them into the required shapes using a
clear stencil, so the cutter can get the best design. You can even design your own bag online, so you can decide how the finished bag will appear. Once the pieces have been cut, they go off to be assembled and sewn. Each bag is then individually photographed and then finally sold.
These days Freitag have broadened their range, to iPod cases, wallets, Mac sleeves and many different types of bags. Their latest range includes the F17 Joe and F18 Rex (pictured above and below). Both are high capacity messenger bags and have been thoroughly tested by bike messengers to make sure the design is right. They can be bought from the Freitag online shop. Or use the store finder to find a shop near you.
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