Perhaps not everybody knows that the first rucksacks were made of uncomfortable and unpractical materials, such as wood, mainly used by the inhabitants of the mountain villages. This accessory later became a military symbol, made of canvas because of its cheapness and production speed. Today, on the contrary, it is always more and more trendy, ideal for travel but also for our daily occasions. Even the materials are evolving, as we have introduced the use of nylon, cordura, leather, synthetic fabric and even sustainable raw materials.
This is the case of 3QUARTERS, an innovative sustainable fashion brand founded in 2015 in Athens, focusing on upcycled fashion accessories. They intentionally focus on small-scale production and try to raise awareness of socially and environmentally conscious fashion. Living in a big city, they complement the contemporary urban lifestyle with a tropical taste. Each bag is designed and manufactured separately; it takes time and effort, a good eye and many hours of head-scratching but it’s worth it.
We met the co-founder of the brand, John Pitsakis, who told us the story about his innovative and sustainable project.
– Where do you get inspiration for your sustainable backpacks?
Athens itself and our years living in Europe.
The leftover awning fabrics we use have the colours of Athens and they define the character of the city. Awnings exist on almost every balcony, different neighborhoods have different colours, and to us they symbolize the relationship of the Athenians with the environment and each other. They protect from the sun and rain, but also provide that sense of privacy a conservative society needs. We play with both these by turning some awnings inside out, the floral patterns come from the inside of the awning, the side only a resident can see.
In Europe we learned to live responsibly, sustainability being addressed for a longer time than in Greece. We also learned to be thorough and disciplined, since working with waste materials requires creativity but also resourcefulness. And obviously, we design and produce for the consumer that has to consider harsher environments and is used to a high standard of quality. We want to compete with the best.
– Which criteria do you use in order to select the recycled materials for the production of your products?
The main material we use for our bags is leftover fabrics from the awning industry. Balcony awnings are ubiquitous in Athens and an immense amount of strong, waterproof, perfectly good polyester fabrics get wasted every year. We buy the leftovers that would end up in a landfill and give them a new life.
In our strive to be as sustainable as possible we have searched for other local waste materials to use. The straps from the window shutters is something that works well. They are difficult to collect but we try hard. Recently we have experimented with used seat belts from the auto industry.
We have to work with what we can get our hands on. But we target materials that are usually neglected, hard wearing and especially synthetic ones. Plastic pollution takes many more forms than most people think, we do our best to deal with the least obvious ones.
– According to you, how important is digital becoming during this difficult period of a global pandemic and social distancing?
2020 has been a crazy and painful year for the whole planet. Our thoughts go to all the people affected by the pandemic, especially those who lost loved ones.
Social distancing is necessary for this new reality and is here to stay. Social behaviours and norms are already changing and some will be with us for a long time. More and more people are living an online, digital life. From working from home to digital entertainment and shopping, some of these new habits are here to stay.
We expect online shopping, online fashion shows, the digital presence of brands and consumers to boom and to a large extent replace the high street. The shift from shopping in-person to a virtual shopping experience is accelerating and we are trying our best to stay up to date. Digital innovation is already creating virtual dressing rooms, digital clothes, augmented reality shops and except for the sense of touch, a lot of the sensory experiences of a day out shopping can already be dispensed with. No doubt physical retail shops will bounce back in the future but most likely they will have to offer something new to compete.
It’s a massive challenge and we’re monitoring it closely.
– Do you have any news related to your brand for the next season? Can you tell us something about them?
Yes, we do, plenty of news!
First of all, in November 2020 is our birthday, 3QUARTERS will be 5 years old. We’re really proud of the ground we have covered these past five years and we’ll be celebrating it accordingly. We are even more proud of working with MANINTOWN and the whole team behind, this is a really big deal for us.
For the new season ahead, we have a new website coming up, some special events and a few new collaborations. The AW20 Collection should be our best yet! There are a few new products being developed also and some of them are pretty surprising. Not much more we can say about it.
Explore More Sustainable Gift Ideas: Upcycled collection by 3QUARTERS