Sustainable strategies; The eco-brand; Freitag

by: Mirjam Visser, 2011-01-10 11:42:22 UTC
Sustainability Aspects: Re-using materials as truck tarpaulins, seatbelts, airbags, bicycle inner tubes

The Story

The bag

Back in 1993, graphic designer brothers Markus and Daniel Freitag were on the lookout for a messenger bag. Zurich citizens worthy of the name travel by bicycle – ‘velo,’ they call it. When it rains, they get wet. The FREITAG brothers wanted a heavy-duty, functional and water-repellent bag to carry their designs. Inspired by the cheerfully coloured lorries rumbling along the cross-Zurich highway just in front of their flat, they cut a messenger bag out of an old truck tarpaulin. As the carry belt, they used second-hand car seat-belt webbing, while an old bicycle inner tube provided the edging.

They didn’t position themselves as eco-brand but started out, perhaps from a need of lack of money, using discarded materials. Now they are a company designing and producing bags from re-using materials and their existence is all about re-suing materials.

They employ 80 people, sold in over 300 locations worldwide, and brought 40 different models to the market. All their products are unique since the cut-outs of the tarpaulins are unique. Their production location? Still along the Zurich highway. So they can put Swiss quality in their products.

Their production process;

  1. Find fine used truck tarpaulins, for which they negotiate with haulage companies Europe-wide. Normally used tarpaulins are costly to dispose of but, for FREITAG, they are an important raw material. The more cheerful the colours, the better.
  2. The bulky truck tarps must be divided into wearable pieces.
  3. The pieces are washed in XXXL laundry machines
  4. Washed and combed (brushed flat), the tarpaulins are hand-cut around transparent templates using a cutter knife. The designers use transparent templates because they have to decide which cutting looks best on the future bag.
  5. The individual fronts, sides, backs and bottoms are arranged, sometimes rearranged and clipped together. They are now ready to become a bag.
  6. The joined pieces are sent out to sewing workshops selected by FREITAG in Switzerland, France, Portugal and Tunisia. These machinists specialize in seaming heavy-duty materials.
  7. Finally the made-up product returns to Zurich for checks, a photograph (because every one is different) and packing. Then out it goes into the wide world.
  • Product: Bags
    Designer: Freitag
    Manufacturer: Freitag
    Category: Re-used materials


    Cutting the tarp
    The bag
    Cutting the tarp
    by Freitag

    Comments by our Users

    Be the first to write a comment for this item.
  • Welcome

    @ D4S, a platform by designers for designers, sharing ideas and knowledge on sustainable design
    Learn more |  Leave Feedback
    We are not-for-profit and want a trustworthy, independent site without advertisements.

    If you like to use D4S please donate to enable us to pay hosting fees and extend the site. Thank you for your support!
    Join us on LinkedIn