One of the first North American companies I admired, circa 1997, was Little Earth. Although they shifted focus on different materials (mostly license plates) and sold the company, one of their first items was an upcycled rubber bag.
Then early this century came Vulcana, Inc., a company in New Jersey with a promising rubber-to-fabric patent that sold bags and accessories. Today Vulcana focuses on textiles and offers a variety of materials for upholstery, wall coverings, outdoor furniture, and much more. It's like a designers playground!
English Retreads, a Colorado company, manufacturers bags and accessories for retailers. Founder Heather English says her design philosophy is to create classic, one-of-a-kind, hand-crafted items that make a high-impact fashion statement and a low impact on the environment.
I particularly love the history of two sisters in UK who established Zuss by converting old inner tubes from local bike shops into bold eye-catching hot couture, hats and accessories. Neither of them went to art or design school. Their first 1997 fashion show was a hit and the business receives global attention today.
It's an honor to document the work of ethical companies and creative designers with a recycling focus. Their past and present creations inspire product developers everywhere.
Check out the items below, where Amazon makes it easy!