The San Francisco company Mafia Bags has been manufacturing beautiful and functional bags with recycled materials for years. The trademark medium of the brand is the canvas for candles, the remains of used boat sails and comets that would otherwise end up in the trash. Last month, Mafia partnered with Adam Savage to create the EDC One, a white cloth sack for candles. Now, the company has partnered with famous designer Yves Béhar to make a backpack called Deep Blue Bag.
The day bag, which seems designed for beach adventures, is doubly ecological. It is made largely of recycled materials, including boat sails, kite sails, climbing ropes, seat belts and neoprene strips of used wetsuits. In addition, it was developed in collaboration with the nonprofit Sustainable Surf, which runs a program called Waste to Waves that collects disposable EPS foam pieces and recycles them into surfboard targets that the shapers can use to make ecological sleds. Profits from sales of Deep Blue Bag will be used to finance Waste to Waves. So buying one promotes the health of the ocean, which is very interesting.
Béhar, a busy designer who apparently never rejects a commission, is a surfer, and his love of ocean sports informs Deep Blue's design. The defining visual characteristic is the diagonal sliding of blue material on a white canvas bed pillow. On his company's website, Fuse Project, Béhar says that this flap of blue is intended to evoke a wave of rupture. Of course. Below the edge of the wave, there is a zipper that leads to a waterproof compartment. It is a bag inside the bag to keep a wet swimsuit, sand sandals or wet beach towel. This waterproof inner pocket, like all good waterproof inner pockets, is turned inward so it can be washed with a hose. There's even a hook at the bottom of Deep Blue so you can hang everything upside down while it dries. Design touches like these suggest that Béhar has spent many days on the beach.
A second zipper reveals a larger main compartment. It has a slightly padded backrest, so while there is no laptop sleeve built into the bag, the dongles in your 15-inch unit will not get stuck in your back. On the back inside wall of the backpack, there is also a small zippered pocket and a D-ring to cut out whatever. Around the side, at the base of the strap on the right, there is a concealed hidden pocket large enough for a phone, and there is a carabiner on a strap where you can cut your keys. There is also a pocket on the front made to fit in a water bottle, and is lined with recycled neoprene material that holds the bottle there.
Bring the noise
When you have the opportunity to touch a deep blue bag, you will notice two things immediately. One: it is very light, approximately one pound. Two: it's noisy. The white and blue canvas wrinkles emphatically, sounding not unlike a large bag of chips. So strong was the wrinkle that when she carried her purse through the city, it attracted attention. On the bus, the passengers stretched their necks. At the grocery cooperative, I received questions and double takes. In the office, coworkers asked if making too much noise was deliberately necessary. It's easily the noisiest rucksack I've ever used. (I can not believe I have written that phrase.)
Marcos Mafia, the co-founder of the bags company, tells me in an email that this wrinkled material is upcycled sailboat spinnaker fabric. "This is the big round sail that is used to go to leeward and looks like a big balloon," he says. The lightweight nylon ripstop material was specifically chosen by Béhar for its strength and paper feel. Mafia has also used spinnaker sails in his company's Native Series bags for a while.
It is an option that will disconnect some buyers, and no doubt surprise many customers who will receive your backpack by mail and put their hands on for the first time. But the spinnaker canvas gives the bag a good structural quality. The material has enough rigidity to keep its shape swollen, and adds a unique visual touch. I began to appreciate it after telling me that the noise imitated the roar of the waves very closely.
One feature that I did not like was the padding at the bottom of the bag, which is too thin to be effective. I used the Deep Blue to carry my camera and my laptop for a couple of days and I shrugged reliably at the click I heard every time I left the bag. Fragile packagings will need their own padded cases.
When the stock market goes on sale on the Mafia website (soon to be sold), it will be priced at $ 200. But if you want to buy an early one, you can get a discount by backing the stock in Kickstarter Normally, I would be reluctant to recommend a product that will be launched on Kickstarter: the crowdfunding landscape is riddled with innumerable incomplete products that will probably never be sent. But Mafia is a well-established company that has been delivering handbags for years, so trust should not be a problem. The three parties, Mafia, Béhar and Sustainable Surf, are using the Kickstarter platform to move the first 500 bags before Mafia increases production. The Kickstarter campaign ends on Tuesday, December 26, but you can expect the commercial version if crowdfunding gives you hives.