Freitag, the Swiss producer of sustainable messenger bags made from recycled truck tarpaulins, in recent years quietly developed an extensive clothes line. The men’s and women’s apparel is made of F-ABRIC, Freitag’s self-developed sustainable textile. At WDCD Live Amsterdam Daniel Freitag will elaborate on the development of this new fabric.

Daniel and Markus Freitag, founders of the company that now turns 350 tons of discarded tarpaulins into bags every year, at some point figured that Freitag could be turned from a branded product into a brand. Many ideas for extensions were left behind when the brothers started a search for solid clothes for the workers at the Freitag factory. In line with Freitag’s set of values, the workwear needed to be functional, and really sustainable.

2,500 kilometres

Aware of the fact that the average piece of clothing travels the world three times over before reaching the consumer, the Freitags wanted a different approach. Eventually, they ended up developing an entirely new fabric from fibres grown in Europe. Freitag’s F-ABRIC, as it is called, is made from a blend of hemp, flax (linen) and Modal (beech wood fibre). These crops don’t need much water, nor extensive use of pesticides.

With a weaving plant in Milan and a sewing workshop in Poland, the trousers Freitag initially produced just made a journey of less than 2,500 kilometres before they could be tested by the Freitag crew. The pants proved to be functional, wearable and quite fashionable, and after polyester threads were replaced by compostable stitching, entirely biodegradable.

Special button

One detail is deliberately not biodegradable: the pant’s buttons. They can be unscrewed before the trousers eventually are discarded. But apart from this functional aspect, the buttons help tell the story behind the clothing. In Frame magazine Daniel Freitag explained that the trousers don’t communicate much about the sustainable production.

‘When I wear them, I don’t think about anything apart from the fact that they’re comfortable. But when I fasten this special button, it reminds me that there is something different about them. That’s why we invested so much time in a simple button – to trigger our customers to think about every step in the life cycle of a piece of clothing.’

From the initial trousers developed an entire clothing line for both women and men. The jeans, shirts, dresses and jackets may be a bit more expensive than what we’re used to. But for once, this line of sustainable basics is perfectly designed. We wouldn’t have expected otherwise from the Freitag brothers.

Join us at WDCD Live Amsterdam (24 & 25 May) to hear the full story from Daniel Freitag himself.

Top image by Lukas Wassmann / other images from Freitag webshop