In the slums of Delhi, “ragpickers” make a modest living salvaging discarded plastic bags for cleaning and reuse in products such as the new Rag-Bags, a line of accessories made from pressed plastic bags. 60 bags are pressed into one thick, durable sheet which is lined with fabric and used to make handbags, totes, wallets and organizers. Though based in the Netherlands, Rag-Bag employs around fifty people in Delhi, mostly women, as collectors and fabricators of the recycled bags. We particularly like the “shopper” bag (right), which rolls up and fits across your back like a yoga mat, or folds out to carry your belongings.
We can’t say this is the most fabulous line of accessories we’ve ever come across, but we like the mission of the company. When eco-friendly fashion began, it was a common critique that while the clothes were better for the earth, they generally didn’t cut it in the style department. Over the last few years, apparel companies have started to blend environmental and social awareness with haute couture (or at least good taste), finally giving fashion-conscious shoppers enough incentive to buy wisely. Accessories may be the next category that’s going to need to step up the coolness factor in order to really reach a wide market. There’s a lot out there to choose from, and most consumers won’t sacrifice their style for a clean conscience when shopping. We hope to see companies like Rag-Bag turn out more products that are as cool as they are conscious.