Fashion most often than not has less to do about function and more to do about form, design and narrative but every-so-often we come across a product that combines both forming an amazingly single-minded work. Freitag is one of those products.
A company who utilizes recycled materials, stitches them up again, looks at it from an artform perspective and sells it at a premium – this, pretty much, is what sustainable capitalism looks like. Crafted in small batches and creating unique one-of-a-kind pieces, Freitag is the brand for those who evoke individualism above all else.
Originating from Zurich, Freitag’s upcycling new-age approach to bag-making created a massive cult following that spread from west all the way to the east. Freitag is super huge in Japan, apparently, and guess what, it made its way here!
We were lucky enough to check a few key pieces from the company as the bags make its way to the Philippine market via Urban Traveller & Co. – a boutique shop that specializes in curating thought-provoking pieces of bags, luggage and travel trinkets.
We even got the opportunity to chat with the SEA Regional Business Development Manager (and one of the coolest dudes you’ll ever meet), Douglas Koh, on the history of Freitag, the culture and the types of fan-based community the brand creates. It’s interesting to note how the brand has a growing following of loyalist so much so as a good number of them hunt down key Freitag pieces all over the world especially with how the “drops” work.
According to Doug, even distributors have no say on the design that they’ll get. They can request the cuts, quantities and maybe a design aspect or two (i.e. more letters, more blacks if possible, etc) but to handpick actual designs is a no-no. This makes drops random and create rarity of design. This also has people who are collecting a certain design motif look for Freitag in different markets and sometimes organize bag meets and bag swaps.
As the bags uses recycled truck lorry tarpaulin, it takes exceptional craft and design eye in spotting, picking and cutting the tarp so that it can create authentic, beautiful pieces. The placement of certain designs to which part of the bags are deliberate and I think that’s a harder job to do and be consistent at than creating things from scratch. Without the freedom to dictate your fabric, you’re left with abstract imagination and creativity to make each piece standout and worthy of the somewhat hefty price tag that Freitag commands (bags ranges from Php 5,000 to Php 21,000).
Freitag carries varied bags and carry-ons ranging from dopp bags, tote, sling, messenger, laptop bags, backpacks, weekenders to bigger luggages – all of which utilizes the signature one-of-a-kind designs from various truck lorry tarpaulins procured throughout Europe. Truck lorry tarpaulin offers a thicker grain than other tarps do hence the best option to use for Freitags. Similar to how the clothing industry grades leather and prefers thicker hides, Freitag grades tarpaulins and really picks out those that would fit their standard. “We’d like to think of our tarps as our leathers, everything is important: the grade, the finish, the patina made by the tarps, etc. We’d like to think of the trucks as our cows “, quips an energetic Douglas Koh.
Freitag found their partnership with Urban Traveller & Co, a multi-brand curated boutique that started online and now has a couple of stores distributed throughout the metro. Freitag will first appear in their Greenbelt 5 store and has a particularly interesting display cabinet. Whereas other brands try to display all their wares, Freitag would show key pieces and everything else is stored neatly in these box containers with images of the design printed up front (like an industrial filling cabinet).
To further solidify the partnership and the presence of Freitag in the Philippines, the brand commissioned an amazing video by Acid House and while, it would be fun to see if they can actually use any of our local tarpaulins (the short answer is no for now considering how thin our tarps are), the inclusion of the jeeps and they high-octane animation from a local animation studio is a great start for the famed Swiss bag brand. Check the crazy Mad Max-like video below:
We rummaged through the piles of incredible designs and ended up with these wonderful pieces.
An amazing laptop bag that can carry as much as a 17″ notebook and…
…a super hyped laptop sleeves with the number 41 on it.
Even if the materials are tarpaulin, the quality of the design, stitching and construction exudes quality. The designs match the ever-growing street-style fashion that’s taking the world by storm. If you’re into sneaker culture, street culture, cross-country travels, backpacking around Europe and such, Freitag is one bag you would definitely want to check out. They also have an amazing community that will welcome you and make you happy with your Freitag purchase.
Freitag is now available in Urban Traveller & Co. Greenbelt 5 branch.
Here are more photos from the GB5 store:
You can follow Freitag on their various Instagram accounts: