Do you know about rubber for ethical fashion? Think tubes from motorcycles, mopeds and bicycles. Now think upcycling and trashion.
One of the first North American companies I admired, circa 1997, was Little Earth. Although they focus on different materials today (mostly license plates), with global distributors, one of their early 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.
More than a decade ago, designer Anna Cianfarani collected rubber from a local non-profit bicycle recycling source. Her New York business, Gaelyn & Cianfarani, attracted stage performers, party goers and stylists. Many of those rubber designs made magazine covers.
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.
Want to try some rubber? No problem, find recycled accessories on Amazon now.