I know it's been quite some time that I've actually contributed anything to the front page, I've been occupied with school and other side projects that kept me busy. Miss me? I betcha did.
Last sunday was absolute mayhem in the mid-size city of 150k souls, called Darmstadt. Located about 30km south of Frankfurt, this nest was where I spent most of my childhood and adolescent life trying to grow up... which I don't think I still did. Anyhow, in the past few months, the mayor of Darmstadt decided that it would be good for the local economy to have Open Sundays once in a while (note: in case you didn't know, German Sundays are usually reserved for church, family time and recovering from nights out clubbing til 6 a.m. - not for shopping). This would give small stores the opportunities to draw in the curious crowd, offer specials and give the buyer the advantage of having another day of the week to dash out their hard-earned monies in exchange for wonderful goods that our socialistic society has to offer. However, the actual result looks not quite as bright as the smartasses that govern that barn had initially anticipated. Thousands of mindless shopaholics stream into town from 1pm til closing time at six, clogging the inbound streets to an extent that they had to let the traffic lights run at longer intervals, as they do on weekdays, in order to cope with the traffic flow. I kid you not, I saw cars parked from no less than 50 miles into either direction, packed with whole families and their entire entourage of cousins, friends and so and so forth. Absolute amuck. Terrible.
Yet, I happened to go back home that weekend and my mother convinced me to go to town to look for a new winter jacket, since my old ones, though still in good shape, were just too old and needed replacement. So we actually managed to find a parking spot a little outside of the city center and then hiked straight into the devil's lair. It wasn't as bad as I thought it was, although my mom ended up apologizing for dragging me into the chaos. Still, I was successful, dashing out 500 bucks on a Burton Ronin snowboarding jacket, so I considered the day to be a success. But the reason for my lengthy intro was not to rant about the stupidity of sheepish herds of idiots who can't get their shopping done on the (already extended hours of the) day before, but to tell you about a swiss company called Freitag bags. I happened to see a few samples in the store I got my jacket from, and had to share it with the PurseBlog community.
What struck my eye in the line to the checkout, were these used-up looking wallets that were conveniently placed on the wide desk at the registrar. I grabbed one and stared at it, and couldn't believe my eyes. Would someone seriously sell a used coin purse for twenty Euros a pop? There had to be something else behind it. Before I could decipher the carton in which the wallets were folded in a row in, the helpful guy behind the counter pointed out that all those wallets were made from the rubbered nylon curtains that were once used on trucks (German: "LKWs") to covered their trailer.
See the grey cover on the truck above? That's what I mean. All the wallets are hand sown in Switzerland, stitched together with all recycled spare parts, such as old bike tire tubes and the mentioned trailer covers, and airbags. Air-whaaa? Damn straight, the new Freitag Mancipation F-Bags use airbags that were once deployed and obviously could not be re-folded into the device that sticks behind the steering wheel and saves lives. No worries though, as odd as it may seem to be carrying a bag or wallet with someone's face imprints... it's not. The materials are carefully cleaned before hand crafted into the wide variety of bags that they offer. Don't like the nearly thousand different bag styles in dozens of shapes? You can build your own. And since the materials that are used in production are one of a kind, and since the cut patterns on the materials are never in the same place, each and every bag that leaves their small production company will be unique. I've seen some weird sh*t before, but this definitely tops it.
Another quick note before wrapping this up. I noticed a rather strong smell from the bags and wallets that I saw in the store, a smell that can be characterized by... uhm... new rubber blowup boats. C'mon, everyone of you folks knows what that smells like. The sales person though insured me that the smell does go away in about 2 weeks - it was just residue from the cleansing process they use to recycle the covers before cutting them into the shapes used for the bags.
Did I spark your interest? Check out Freitag Bags and let me know in our forum if you decide to get one for yourself. Heck, let me know what you think even if you don't get one. Verdict: Great idea, very sturdy and lasting bags, and an impressive use of recycled materials that would just poison the soils on a dump - if they didn't end up looking good on your shoulder.
I really like this idea too. I'm all in favor of recycling materials.
But what I really wanted to say was that Vlad, it's really cool you grew up in Darmstadt! I was stationed there for two and a half years in the early 90's when I was in the Army. Ich ritt immer der Nr. 3 Strassenbahn (Lichtenbergschule) von Cambrai Frisch zu Luisenplatz.
I was last in Darmstadt visiting friends 3 years ago and nearly got arrested by MPs when I tried to get a look at my old haunts around CFK, post 9-11 security . But I'll always be very fond of the city.
I love the idea to recycle those materials and the look quite cute for a sportive person or on students. I've he ard about them and seen them before (I live in Munich) but their are not my style. Think I am getting old . They would be lovely for my son.