Industrierelikt by Karen Häcker & Michel Treiber

«As designers and dissenters, we are excited to find new ways saving precious resources from the industrial wastefulness and craft something new out of it.»


The idea to sew bags out of automotive textiles is much older than industrierelikt. While in school, Karen used to visit waste yards and remove seat cushions from scrap cars for her bags. These she sold to friends and various shops. However, due to stricter safety regulations Karen was then no more allowed on scrap yards. Instead, the materials are disposed together with the cars. In line with her bachelor thesis Karen got engaged with the ´resource industrial waste´: Unused materials being sorted out for disposal during the production process.

We, Karen Häcker and Michel Treiber are together the start-up label industrierelikt. Karen has a degree as product designer from Bauhaus-University Weimar and Michel has studied environmental sciences in Norwich and Oslo and completed a Master of Business Administration in Paris.

As designers and dissenters, we are excited to find new ways saving precious resources from the industrial wastefulness and craft something new out of it. We believe that the only way for companies to make money should be a sustainable and socially acceptable one and not with the destruction and pollution of our environment under inhuman conditions. With industrierelikt we want to show and prove that such a concept is feasible.

Every individual bag is an elegant, environmentally friendly and fairly produced unique specimen – for women and men equally: crafted from industrial production offcuts. Precious veneers and robust textiles shape the indistinctive appearance and timeless design. The material combination grants a stable and safe stand on the ground and protects the bag’s content from shocks and weather. Furthermore, all bags are stain-resistant and easily washable. Our accessories contribute through our optimization of the material cutting process to the minimization of our own offcuts: as defined by our idea of a circular economy.

Materials – High quality offcut materials from different industries in Germany are the starting point of all our products. Industrial offcuts are normally burned as waste: Due to fear of industrial spying or misuse companies prefer to see their waste as fuel in incinerators and not recycled. The materials we save from disposal include FSC-certified veneers normally used for the interior of cars or yachts. The outer textiles are offcuts generated during the assembly of barber chairs or medical seats. The lining is as remaining stock in various textile manufactures. All other materials such as haberdashery are produced in Germany, the EU or from recycled resources. For the treatment of veneers, we employ formaldehyde-free glue and use environmentally-friendly oil.

Production – We produce our bags together with our partners completely in Germany. First we sort all materials, prepare the individual bag design and cut all textiles in shape. The sewing is carried out by Stitch by Stitch (Frankfurt am Main, Germany) employing sewers and fashion designers from Syria and other refugee countries. The individual wooden veneers are glued together by us and cut by an external workshop. Finally, we join all wooden and textile parts together. In this way, we can check every single bag prior shipping and stamp it with an individual number.

Processes – The resource-saving approach does not only apply for our products but for all processes. We try to improve the logistics on a constant basis in order to make them as environmental as possible. Here we aim for short transportation routes and always operate at full capacity without empty trips. The shipment of our products is CO2-neutral. In the same manner, we attempt to make all our operations sustainable and environmentally friendly such as printing business cards and flyers. With our environmental management system, we can monitor our energy and water consumption as well as waste generation. With this data, we aim to reduce our ecological footprints and become more sustainable on a constant basis.

The design is aimed to be simple and plain on the one hand but extravagant on the other. We tried not to be influenced by current trends but only by our understanding of aesthetics and the rules we set ourselves: simplicity, functionality and sustainability combined in elegance. Our result is a timeless bag design that differs in form and idea compared to other bags especially to other recycling or eco bags.


Images © industrierelikt / Photographer Ana Cayuela Munoz

Trends: EcoSustainability, Empower me.

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