Be For Change

sustainable

New bags bringing the perfect Beach vibes

Bag For ChangeAna CarneiroComment
Flo Martin with the  Red Beach Bag , photographed by Pamela Aminou

Flo Martin with the Red Beach Bag, photographed by Pamela Aminou

Even though I haven't quite made it to the beach just yet this year, our new trio of bags with beautiful stripes have me craving all things seaside :)

I'm blaming the colours and textures, for I can't stop day-dreaming about packing them with beach towels, fresh fruits to keep me going during the day and snacks to enjoy as the sun goes down... *rummages the closet looking for espadrilles*

In grey, red and a beautiful sandy beige, these bags are made from cotton fabrics that would have been thrown away. As with all of our bags, they have the same handy pocket on the inside and have been finished with cotton seam tape, but we skipped on our iconic Bag For Change print to keep these models as simple and elegant as possible. We took these photos in London, but can't wait to see where you guys and girls taken them to!

Which one is your favourite?

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Bruna Costa models the  Beach Bag in Grey Stripes , photographed by Ana Carneiro

Bruna Costa models the Beach Bag in Grey Stripes, photographed by Ana Carneiro

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Lara Costa with the  Sandy Beach Bag , photographed by Pamela Aminou

Lara Costa with the Sandy Beach Bag, photographed by Pamela Aminou

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New Leather Goods

War on WasteAna CarneiroComment
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Now that I've got your attention ;)

I recently posted about being given some leather to experiment with, to test the feasibility of using scraps of leather from the automotive industry to make new products with. You can read all about that here. Now I'm answering that question: yes, it is feasible. In fact, it worked perfectly for homewares.

Once I got over my initial repulsion to the leather (because I've mostly given up leather unless I previously owned it, it is not aligned with my values), I quickly got into the rhythm of quite enjoying working with it. Initially I was attempting to make a rug... and while I still love the idea of it, my crafts skills just didn't live up to the challenge. So I turned directions, and created the three products in this post instead.

They are all made from scrap leather off-cuts, and to best make use of the material properties of leather I decided to make the kind of products that I hope you guys will love and want to keep for a really long time.

First up are drinks coasters, by far the easiest and therefore most affordable items that we're launching. They'll be up on the shop as soon as there are a few more sets finished, and I'm looking to potentially collaborate with a lettering artist who can customize them. (If you know of anyone London based who might be interested, let me know!)

Second on the list, beautiful and dainty leather bags for the home. These are made from long yet relatively narrow off-cuts sewn together. What I really enjoy about these bags is just how adaptable they are: you can turn them inside out, fold a cuff to show both sides of the leather, use them for just about anything from keeping frequently used items to displaying your favourite plants in. Amazing feedback has already been coming in on these, which will be made on request for the time being.

The third and more expensive item on the list is the leather cushion. It has leather on one side and swede on the other, it is incredibly hard wearing and much comfier than I expected. It beautifully displays the material. It really does have the feel of a luxurious product. I've only made one so far - and that is because my cute little home-sewing-machine is just not strong enough for me to be sewing through 3 layers of leather... So, again, if you know a skilled leather worker who might be interested in partnering up for this product, let me know!

So, what do you think? Would you buy them? Do you know of potential retailers?

This is my first time creating and launching homewares with Be For Change, so any advice and feedback will be most appreciated!

PS: backdrop and beautiful cocktails kindly provided by Qbic Hotel

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Zero Waste Living, by Kate Arnell

War on WasteAna CarneiroComment

A zero waste lifestyle. What does that mean, exactly? It’s a tricky one to explain as the name itself can be quite misleading. I still produce waste. I still buy (some) items in packaging.

Essentially, Zero Waste is the goal - the elusive carrot that dangles just out of reach. It means I take a considered approach to my life. I live in alignment with my values and at the same time, I have dramatically reduced the amount of waste I send to landfill.

Manufacturing Bag for Change

Bag For ChangeAna Carneiro
cutting fabric

Where? In the North of Portugal, at a small and ethical company called Dapit 

Why? The region is traditionally linked to the textile industry and this company employs both experienced and young people to whom they teach the trade. Their operations are run in a sustainable way, with most of their textile waste being recycled.

My previous experience in the textile area in Portugal was what triggered the idea of upcycling fabric (as opposed to sourcing a sustainably made, yet more expensive, material). Striking the deal for being allowed use of the fabric was only made possible by working in collaboration with someone whom companies already knew and trusted - Dapit. Upon the material being secured we could have chosen to walk away with it. The decision of not manufacturing the bags in-house hinged on the recognition of their expertise. Surely I could buy a professional sewing machine and sew myself, but that would impact the quality of the final product and would take longer than having skilled hands do what they know best. I'm sure that trusting Dapit with our bags resulted in a better product finished in less time, and therefore also less expensive.

Portugal is a country in which we are proud to manufacture (and I'm not just saying that because I'm Portuguese). In Portugal, we have found people passionate about what they do, happy to establish a close relationship with their clients and who really go the extra mile to deliver something special. The country is also heavily invested in relying solely in renewable energy, with more than 50% to be produced from renewable sources by 2020 - a target which seems increasingly plausible after Portugal run on wind, solar and hydro power for 4 days straight in May (The Guardian). We believe our decision of partnering with a Portuguese company to not only make financial sense but also that it is the best way of rewarding people's personal investment in the quality of their work and the government's investment in a sustainable future.