We're written before about the upcycling design company Looptworks based in Portland, Oregon. Founded in 2009 by partners Scott Hamlin and Gary Peck, Looptworks has always had as its goal to take the world's excess textiles and upcycle them into beautiful, durable clothing and accessories.
That's a noble goal, considering that a large apparel factory can create 60,000 pounds of 'waste' fabric...per week.
Turning pre-consumer, leftover textiles into t-shirts and hoodies didn't entirely add up to a sustainable business model for Looptworks until the company also began turning discarded wetsuit neoprene into laptop and other device sleeves, and discovered an e-commerce sweet spot.
Next, along came first Southwest Airlines and then Alaska Airlines, eager to keep thousands of leather seat covers out of the landfill when it came time for fleet overhauling. Looptworks turned many of Southwest's 80,000 'Luv' seat covers into a line of two-toned duffels and backpacks and hand bags.
Looptworks got a tremendous amount of press for upcycling the airline's discards. Girls Inc, a national non-profit that mentors girls from 9-18, then came calling, asking the company to design for one of its annual fundraisers, and paired them with Claire Coffee, star from the Grimm show (also partially filmed in Portland).
Coffee spent a lot of time working on the perfect new-parent diaper bag, as she had a 'graveyard' of frumpy bags that hadn't worked for her and she wanted something fashionable yet also sustainable to take her through the early kid years.
Hamlin liked the 'The Calvin' bag they designed together so much he decided to Kickstarter The Calvin to new parents everywhere. A backpack bag, The Calvin uses excess upcycled leather (from shoe production) and ballistic nylon (from snowboard outerwear). There will be a vegan leather option. The Calvin is lightweight, with a drawstring opening underneath the leather magnetic-closure flap. It is designed to be easily accessed by a parent with limited free hands. An inside sleeve can fit a 13" laptop and there are four inner elastic pockets for lots and lots of kid paraphernalia.
Ten percent of the sale of each bag (priced at $210 and $235 in the Kickstarter) will go to Girls Inc. Looptworks calculates that this upcycled diaper bag saves 2,000 gallons of water in its production compared to making it from new materials. Check the campaign here.