The word “recycle” gets tossed around a lot in modern society, but one company has looked beyond the blue bin in your driveway to create a fabulous green fashion statement.

Sea Bags are an excellent example of the ways consumerism is changing. These accessories, which range from wine carriers to large over-the shoulder bags, are all made out of the material from actual previously used sails!

Sea Bags wine carrierThe sails are procured locally from boaters in the Portland, Maine area through purchase, donation or even trade. Sea Bags also offers the choice to donate material in exchange for a donation to the Sail Maine Scholarship Fund for children that are learning or wish to learn to sail.

Each bag created from these sails has distinctive markings from the expected wear and scratches such material collects from the nature of its previous function on the sea. Customers can also choose a type of design for their bag, including additions like stripes, large identification numbers or logos which can be found on each individual sail. This guarantees that each bag is absolutely one of a kind.

Also unique are the company’s beliefs. “We make bags out of recycled sails and each bag represents everything we are as a company,” said company owners Hannah Kubiak and Beth Shissler. The company stands on chathe philosophy that every person, just like their sails, deserves a second chance — a perfect stance for a company that revolves around recycling.

To put this idea into action the company has a close working relationship with the Maine Correctional Institute for Women. Sea Bags also developed a line of bags devoted to aiding the fight against Breast cancer which sported the well-recognized pink ribbon. Half of all the proceeds gained from the sail of these bags — $15,000 — went directly to the Maine Cancer Foundation.

This multi-faceted involvement with the community helps the company stick with one of its final goals, to stay local while growing into a global company. “We are proud to have a global business in Portland, Maine where all of our products are made and we are passionate about keeping it that way,” said the owners.

The possibilities for recycled fashion are endless. In fact, right now I am using a beautiful piece of a used billboard for a wallet and part of a retired circus tent for a purse.

Creativity can help save our earth, one accessory at a time.

About The Author

Jocelyn Carleton is a journalism student at Quinnipiac University

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