Over 3,000,000 plastic water bottles are consumed by Americans per hour and less than 30% of the bottles are recycled. To solve this problem, startup 8hz (eight hertz) has partnered with legendary graffiti artist Saber to create a line of 100% sustainable bags — and they’re available for pre-order today.
The 8hz Backpack x Saber collection has launched on Indiegogo today with the goal of raising $50,000 in one month. With nearly $5,000 donated already at press time (the first day of the campaign), it seems like people are ready for a backpack made from 23 plastic bottles. Not only is the collection of 8hz bags sustainable, but the bags are emblazoned with the work of world-renowned street artist Saber.
“The partnership with 8hz was random, but once we started speaking we realized we had the same passion towards doing something innovative,” Saber told WearTesters. “Bringing my art to products like this was not in the plan but knowing when to adapt the work to new formats is the exciting part,” he continued.
The bags are handcrafted in California, come with a lifetime guarantee, and save 23 plastic bottles each from ending up in the ocean or landfills. The plastic bottles are collected, cleaned, cut into flakes, then turned into pellets. The pellets are made into yarn, then woven into a fabric, which is handed off to 8hz’s manufacturing partner — a California-based company that made products for Patagonia, another California brand based in Ventura, for over 25 years.
Not only are the bags sustainable, but they’re reversible and modular. 8hz’s bags actually create a travel system; the 8hz backpack ($198) is reversible into a messenger bag that shows off Saber’s art, while the small bag ($25), toiletry bag ($28), and mini messenger ($45) all fit into the backpack neatly.
You can learn more about the 8hz Backpack x Saber Collection by checking out the videos below and you can pre-order the bags by visiting the Indiegogo page and backing the cause.
WearTesters caught up with Mateo Neri, Frankie Carone, and Jason Chuan, the founders of 8hz, to discuss why they wanted to create a sustainable backpack and whether it’s more difficult to create environmentally friendly products.
What made you all want to create a new, sustainable bag? The brand is developing apparel and household goods, so why start with a bag?
There is no right answer as we could have started with any type of product, but the decision was based on what a lot of people use and need, as well as what we wanted and needed ourselves, which are bags. The problem is there just not a lot of great quality bags made from recycled plastics compared to virgin materials, so this was one of the deciding factors to make a product using this fabric that was beautiful, yet sustainable as possible.
You all are very concerned with sustainability, and if I’m correct, you are all designers.
I like to say we are design entrepreneurs, we all have design backgrounds from graphics/packaging, product, photography, film and illustration, but we also have started many companies as well.
For all the companies making wasteful/non-sustainable bags: is it harder to make a sustainable bag?
First off, we are not perfect, we are developing towards all items being made from sustainable materials, but the goal is to make the best quality product. As far as being harder to make a sustainable bag, well that’s really a mindset and I would say no it is not if your committed. There might be more challenges, but at the end of the day, you have to solve it to do what others are not doing. If designers don’t change the mindset, then the same problems will keep happening.
Does using plastic bottles incur more costs/production difficulties/etc.?
As for the fabric, it depends on what your comparing it to, I would say, it costs more compared to a certain virgin fabric and it might cost less, but if you look at the benefits of less carbon footprint, water and energy consumption, than the pluses are bigger and consumers will pay for a better product that has more impact.
Once you have the fabric made, it is not really changing how we are manufacturing the bag. Of course you have to test any fabric for performance.
If this is the first bag y’all have designed/produced/brought to market, how does one go about designing a bag?
The best way we think is always prototyping and testing many versions until it is ready. We started over a year and half ago with the overall design that is still in place, but have fine tuned it based on the next version prototype. It helps that we have an awesome manufacturing partner in our backyard that manufactured for Patagonia for 25 years.
How does one maximize functionality while remaining simple, when it comes to a bag like this?
Being minimalistic was important to us, especially when a lot of bags want to have everything on it. We wanted an easy to pack luggage bag that works like a backpack and we kept it to our basic core functions which is the horizontal hatch door with a laptop zipper and secret stash pocket.
You can always expand and add, and create other lines, but once you start to think it needs this and that then you look up and see that it is no longer the bag you intended it to be.
Images via 8hz