Yes, this week starts with more upcycle design bags. I guess I’ve got a soft spot for bags although I just use one [not upcycled].
A few weeks ago, in January, I met Siem Haffmans, at the Green Orange Fashion fair in Amsterdam. He’s the founder of the brand Ragbag in Amsterdam that makes fashionable upcycled bags. “Ragbags are made of waste materials, that are collected by ‘ragpickers’, cleaned and fabricated into new products. We use the concept of ‘upcycling’: waste materials are refabricated into new products with a higher value.”
I discovered the brand some time ago on the internet, but seeing the products in real life was great. It always is, because you can feel the material and see all the details.
Siem told me all about the brand Ragbag: “Ragbag is a brand that follows the ten fair trade principles of WFTO, the World Fair Trade Organization. Our production partners are members of Fair Trade Forum India (FTF-India). We pay a fair price to the ragpickers and fabricators, providing them and their families ‘means of livelihood’ and access to more opportunities. The design of the bags is made by talented Dutch designers educated at the Rietveld Academy and the Design Academy.
Waste used as a source for fashion bags
“Ragbags are upcycled, fair and fashionable bags and accessories made in different places in India. Ragbags are made of recycled plastic bags, big teabags and cotton rags. These are collected and fabricated by ‘ragpickers’ in the slums of New Delhi and Calcutta and in a village in Tamil Nadu.”
Resulting in three collections. The ‘Delhi Collection‘ from upcycled plastic and canvas bags, the ‘Tamil Nadu Collection‘ from upcycled big tea sacks and the ‘Calcutta Collection‘ from upcycled cotton and sari’s.
Photos © Ragbag
Ragbag is the initiative of Siem Haffmans, who studied Industrial Design. In 2005 he founded Ragbag, after being invited to come to Delhi for a conference on sustainable design. There he met Anita Ahuja who had invented a process of pressing plastic waste bags together into colorful sheets.
After that, he asked young Dutch designers to design bags. Within a short time, the first Ragbag was made. The color combinations of the Indian producers surprise him. But: “That gives an Indian feeling to the product. I want to give them space for new ideas.” Siem says. In the meantime, Ragbag expanded with other products like organizers and wallets.
At the fair Siem even showed me a jacket made from big tea sacks. A stunning piece, only thing though, it made too much noise when you moved your arms wearing it!