A BETTER BAG: Used Tarpaulin transformed into Freitag shopping bag. (Zack Stieber/The Epoch Times)
The Festival of Ideas for the New City was a new collaborative initiative in New York involving scores of downtown organizations working together to “harness the power of the creative community to imagine the future city and explore ideas that will shape it.” The festival ran May 4-8.
Hatched from inspiration during a search for a waterproof messenger bag, Freitag recycles well-traveled truck tarpaulins, unraveled seat belts, bicycle inner tubes beyond repair, and salvaged airbags to create a stylish and durable bag ready for the toughest of tasks.
Two Swiss graphic designers, brothers Markus and Daniel Freitag, started the company in 1993 in Zurich, Switzerland. Since then, they have steadily expanded: first, throughout Europe, with stores in Berlin, Davos, Cologne, Hamburg, Vienna. Now, coinciding with the Festival of Ideas, they opened their first overseas store on the corner of Prince Street and Bowery Street in Manhattan, boasting over 1,000 items for sale. In addition, their products sell at over 350 shops internationally, and they have their own on-line shop.
“It’s becoming popular in Japan,” stated Daniel at his compost-canteen during the festival.
“We knew it from Germany; it’s a good idea, it’s quite cool for the New York people,” stated Alex and Caroline, visiting New York from Hamburg.
When asked what the food has to do with his business, Daniel remarked, “It’s a way to produce green waste to demonstrate the biological process.” Daniel had a compost container made with the same tarpaulin used for their products, partnering with the Ecological Center of Lower East Side, an organization that provides sustainable community based programs, including composting education, in NYC. Freitag gave away 200 bags “to people who are willing to support the composting communities in Manhattan, who are willing to join in, to compost,” according to Daniel.
Their product line has grown far more diverse than just messenger bags; they now feature purses, laptop bags, pouches, backpacks, wallets, and iPad and iPhone covers, among other merchandise.
Freitag produces over 250,000 products annually, 18 years after it all started with two guys looking for a way to keep their bags dry.
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Submited at Tuesday, May 10th, 2011 at 2:00 am on Uncategorized by jessica
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