In 1993, brothers Markus and Daniel Freitag were both young design students at the University of Zurich living on a tight budget in a shared apartment by the highway. In need of a bag that can hold their textbooks in the rain during their daily cycling commute, the brothers found inspiration in the trucks passing by just outside their kitchen window and acquired some old tarpaulin, seatbelts and bike wheel inner tubes to create their first ever messenger bag – essentially making them one of the first pioneers in upcycling before it was even a thing.
Founders Markus and Daniel Freitag at their Zurich F-actory.
Image via freitag.ch (an interview with the brothers will follow shortly)
Fast-forward 25 years later, Freitag now recycles more than 400 tonnes of truck tarp to make nearly half a million backpacks, iPhone cases, wallets and other accessories each year, selling their products through more than 20 stores in Europe, North America and Asia, as well as hundreds of dealers and partner stores around the world.
On September 21, Freitag unveiled its first branded store in China (the 23rd worldwide) in partnership with their reseller Harbook+ at 758 Julu Lu – a complex that once housed Shanghai Hu Guang Electronic Instruments back in the 1950s – with an opening party where fans got to interact with the founders and make their own bags with truck tarps they brought over from Switzerland.
Image via freitag.ch
Built by Tokyo-based architect IIA Atelier, the two-story, 150-square-meter outlet features an industrial vibe similar to their other shops around the world. It stocks more than 1,000 products in the unique shelfing system developed by the brand, and features a repair unit of its own to service existing fans around Shanghai. The store officially opened on September 26.