Q&A: Markus Freitag of Freitag

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Emma Russell talks to the Swiss designer about trucks, motorways and recontextualisation in Zurich

If you can’t find it, make it yourself. Or at least that’s what graphic design duo Markus and Daniel Freitag did when they couldn’t acquire a hardwearing, water-resilient messenger bag to transport their work to university by bike. The Zurich-born brothers took to the motorways and began ‘recontextualising’ old truck tarpaulin into bags, unknowingly establishing one of the most successful sustainability driven brands in the fashion world today.

Their inspiration began as children when their mother asked them to create window displays for her shop in Switzerland. Markus Freitag remembers, “There was no budget [to make the display], so we said okay, let’s start collecting some beautiful rubbish!” That spearheaded the environmentally friendly duo’s desire towards recycling, now undertaken on a much larger scale. Freitag currently uses 350 tons of truck tarpaulin, 18,000 bicycle tubes and 150,000 seat belts each year to make their durable, yet luxury, lifestyle bags. It comes as no surprise therefore, that Freitag sees sourcing material as the brand’s biggest challenge. He laughs about his deals at truck depots where it’s ‘a bit like the black market’ when you’re handing bundles of cash to a driver for his tarpaulin. 

But why is sustainability so important to the brand? “I think it was really our parents and teachers,” Freitag answers. “It was already an issue in the 80s that there was a need for change. And if there is a problem, it somehow inspires me to solve the problem.”

Now, Hongkongers can jump on the eco bandwagon too, at Freitag’s new shop at Harvey Nichols in The Landmark. Freitag are the most durable and adventure driven bags on the market – perfect for HK’s rugged but style-addicted consumers.

Freitag Harvey Nichols, The Landmark, 15 Queen’s Rd C, Central, 3695 3388; freitag.ch.

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