Recycling runs in our blood

STURDY: Freitag co-founder Markus Freitag currently carries the F48 Hazzard backpack.
Recycling runs in our blood

CONVENIENT: The F77 Ben computer bag is recommended for working professionals.
Recycling runs in our blood

BOLD LOOK: The F77 Ben bag comes in various colours which brighten up businesswear. Freitag will come out with smaller models of the bag, as laptops and tablets are becoming smaller.


    Oct 02, 2013

    Recycling runs in our blood

    After making their first bag out of recycled tarpaulin 20 years ago, brothers Markus and Daniel Freitag from Switzerland never imagined they would have a worldwide cult following today.

    Their indie label Freitag now sells 400,000 products - from messenger bags to cardholders - made of recycled tarpaulin every year.

    My Paper spoke to older brother Markus, 43, when he was here at fashion store Actually at 313@Somerset last month.

    How was the first Freitag bag made?

    We had problems finding a waterproof messenger bag.

    It was a rainy day 20 years ago, when we were inspired by trucks (with tarpaulin covers) passing the Zurich freeway next to our flat. We went to a trucking company and were lucky to get a piece of truck tarp to make the first prototype.

    The first model (the F13 Top Cat) is now being exhibited at the Zurich Museum of Design and New York's Museum of Modern Art.

    Why make bags out of old truck tarp?

    At the beginning, it was just the need for a waterproof material.

    Recycling is a (big) issue with my family. Growing up, we believed in living sustainably.

    We do not own a car because it's not good for the environment. Our whole family rides bicycles.

    How is it like working with Daniel, 42?

    We share a chemistry, we don't have to talk to each other much to know what the other guy is thinking. It's intuitive communication.

    Who is your design inspiration?

    I like German designer Dieter Rams. He may be in his 80s, but the products - be it clocks or furniture - he designed 30 to 40 years ago still look good now.

    I like his timeless but, somehow, contemporary way of shaping products.

    As a bag designer, you must have plenty of bags to choose from. Do you change your bags often?

    I usually carry the F48 Hazzard business backpack.

    I like to carry the same bag, I change it only when I have to test out a new model. I get used to where the pockets are. If I change my bag every day, I may not be able to find where I placed my keys.

    Which Freitag bag would you choose for working professionals?

    I would recommend the F77 Ben, a computer bag. We will come out with smaller models (because) laptops and tablets are getting smaller.

    This model is one of our bestsellers. For people who wear it, when they don a grey suit, the bag (adds a dash of colour).


    Freitag products are available at Actually, located at 313@somerset, #04-06. Visit