Looking for a bag that says “me be hip, urban, and environmentally responsible? Vy&Elle, Freitag, and Baumm are three inspirational companies that use recycled billboards, truck tarpaulins, and seat belts to compose sharp, one-of-a kind accessories.
Based in Tucson, Arizona, Vy&Elle was founded in 2002 by British designer Nicola Freeguard. As of 2007 the company has reused over 100 tons of PVC billboard vinyl to create colorful totes, messenger bags, and other accessories.
If you've never seen a Freitag bag or surfed their ultracool website, just stop and click: Freitag. Around since 1993, the popular European brand offers an extensive line of graphically bold bags, computer and iPod cases made from truck tarpaulins, seat belts, and bike tubes. One of their newest products, the F84 Mac Sleeve Air is constructed from rooftop tarps and looks like a manila envelope.
The company’s keen eye for design is evident not only in its products, but also by its website. Be sure to play with the F-cut tool, which allows you to move stencils over a selection of truck tarpaulins and "cut out" your own bag.
Last but not least, Baumm is based in Buenos Aires and, like Vy&Elle, uses old billboards as its material source. Interweaving the arts with environmentally conscious product design, Baumm collaborates with artists and has also has entered the realm of furniture design. Especially clever is their concept “B-own,” whereupon Baumm designs bags with a company’s billboard campaign and gives them back to the same company as a new marketable product.