Thursday, 11 July 2013

Pack your Bags!

Summer has finally arrived and how! Ireland has literally never been this hot. So get out there and enjoy the sun while it lasts. To accompany you on your romantic picnics, outdoor barbeques, trips to the beer garden and leisurely walks along the sea, I've gathered a selection of fairtrade and eco-friendly bags for you. Beautiful and practical, they will carry everything you may need, especially your clear conscience.

Let's start out with one of my all-time favourites from home: the Freitag bags. Freitag have been making super cool bags out of used truck tarps since 1993! The integrity of their designs is beautiful. They use seat-belts as bag straps and old bike tubes as lining. Freitag is also one of the last companies to still manufacture their goods in Zurich. Being Swiss, the quality of their bags is phenomenal. A Freitag bag will truly last you a life-time (believe me, I've seen it.). They don't just do courier-style bags by the way, at Freitag you can get funky laptop bags, totes, wallets, and backpacks too and no two Freitag products are the same. I particularly love the hand-bag model Joan (bottom right in picture). As you can see in the quirky 'How-to-use-video' here, it can fit anything from a baguette to a rolled up sleeping mat. The smart straps at the back of the bag, mean you can fix it to the handle-bar of your bicycle. Love it!

Planning on going to the beach? HandCrafting Justice sells the perfect summer tote for any beach adventure.  These beautifully simple canvas bags are super handy and their size means they will hold everything and anything you may want to bring with you. HandCrafting Justice provides access to Fair Trade markets for handmade goods created by enterprising women in the developing world. Their work fosters self-reliance and the creation of economic opportunities and networks, enabling women to achieve long-lasting success, lifting themselves and their families out of poverty. The artisans set the price for their goods themselves and HandCrafting Justice pays upon receipt, guaranteeing payment for each artisan. Have a look at their range of beautiful accessories, home-wares and gifts.

If you're going for a night out, but lacking that special accessory, I suggest you check out Escama Studio's fantastic range of handbags. I love the industrial look of these bags and still find it hard to believe they're made from used ring-pulls. Escama Studio is a social enterprise based in California and Brazil. The name means 'fish scales' in Portuguese, reflecting the look of their products. To achieve this unique aesthetic, Escama adapted traditional Brazilian crochet work, marrying heritage crafts with new materials and contemporary design. Eco-friendly, fair trade and stylish - these bags are just stunners in every way.

In case you were looking for something a little more affordable, why not check out the lovely accessory ranges of Earth Squared and PeopleTree. These cute and girly print bags are perfect for summer and retail between 20 and 30 pounds. If you follow my blog, you'll be sick of hearing me go on and on about PeopleTree... Earth Squared is one of my new discoveries though. A registered importer of BAFTS (British Association of Fair Trade Shops) they sell a lovely range of accessories and bags.

And saving the best for last, I want to introduce you to this beauty from fair trade label Nkuku:

Hand made from leather, dyed using extracts of tree barks and plants by a co-operative in Rajastan, the Savannah shopper is almost too beautiful in its simplicity. Each of the bags is lined with a colourful floral cotton fabric complementing its plain exterior. Nkuku is an eco-friendly fair trade home and lifestyle label with a clean and gorgeously simple aesthetic. Apart from bags, Nkuku sells a range of rustic home decor wares that I would love to fill my apartment with. The label's notebooks and journals are also to die for.

What about you? Which bag did you like best? Or are you in love with a different bag entirely? Let us know!