The Swiss company Freitag, which focuses on circularity by making bags from repurposed truck tarps, is launching a new sling bag made from those huge signature covers.
Called the F650 Dixon, the rectangular crossbody-cum-fanny pack can be worn sling over a shoulder or fastened around the waist. It leaves the hands completely free for activities like working or cycling unencumbered.
The bags are fabricated with Freitag’s usual truck tarp manipulation, with handles made from disused seatbelts. Two reflective recycled truck contour markings give high visibility for nighttime use, and the main zippered compartment is water repellent, spun-dyed, PFC-free fabric made from 100 percent recycled PET. A second zippered compartment is also made from truck tarps. Colors depend on the used tarps the company has been able to source in the market. Smaller than most Freitag bags, the Dixon measures roughly 12-in. by 2-in. by 6-in.
Freitag was founded in 1993 by two Swiss brothers who made their first cross-body messenger bag out of a discarded tarp. The material today is a polyester fabric with a PVC coating that has been washed and disinfected. Patterns and letters on the tarps are incorporated into the designs, making it rare to find two patterned bags alike.
Every material in what the company produces has had a former life, except the fasteners and materials like mesh that are collateral to the design. Some 88 percent of Freitag bags are made from upcycled truck tarps, and 1.6 percent is made from airbags and seat belts. About 2 percent is PET fabrics and lining while just under 8 percent is new materials like mesh, padding, zippers and buckles. Using old truck tarps, which have usually been on the road for about six years, saves 22 percent of the CO2 emissions a new tarp material would use, according to South Pole, the Freitag partner that keeps track of its CO2 footprint. The PET fabrics are made from yarns dyed in the spinning which uses 75 percent less water, 90 percent fewer chemicals and 30–40 percent less energy.
In addition to the Dixon and the original cross-body style, the company also makes accessories like laptop envelopes, wallets, card cases, agendas, pouches, phone cases and toiletry kits. It has an apparel line made of compostable, biodegradable fabrics it developed in-house, made of hemp, flax and Modal, cultivated in Europe using very little water to grow and a minimal carbon footprint coming from transport. Garments include tops and pants for men and women, and overalls, dresses and skirts for women.
Hewing to its own policy of absolute circularity, Freitag has instituted a system for bag owners to swap out their bags with other customers. SWAP stands for Shopping Without Any Payment, and it enables bag owners to register and do a bag exchange with another owner for free. It likens it to the Tinder dating site but the matchups are made from truck tarps.