I had the opportunity of visiting the new Freitag http://www.freitag.ch factory in Nœrd Zurich and of having a fulfilling conversation with Markus, one of the Freitag brothers. Thinking in Cycles, Recycling and Re-contextualizing has been their philosophy ever since their childhood. They started to collect trash, leftovers and recycled items before they where picked up and thrown away and went to their workshop to up-cycle. Freitag’s first idea in 1993 was to create a biker’s messenger bag. Observing that people in Switzerland were using non functional backpacks, and comparing them with the ones they heard messengers used in NY and London, they decided to make them at their student flat, located next to the freeway. Here they saw trucks passing by and their old tarps seemed to be the right material to make “cheap” waterproof bags. In the beginning the tarps were given for free, but after creating a market, Freitag started to pay the truck companies for them. Now Freitag re-uses 350 truck tarps per year and has built a network of hundreds of logistic transport companies from European countries, most of all Switzerland, that delivers regularly old tarps after 5 or 8 years of use for the “FUNDAMENTAL” Line. Occasionally they use slightly worn out tarps from lesser time (around 2 years or less, used for short periods of publicity campaigns or gathered from bankrupt companies); these are the ones destined for a much more sophisticated “like new” product, called “REFERENCE”.
by Carolina Tinoco @carolatinoco – Photos by Roland Tanner – Bruno Adler – Peter Hauser – @jgxdh