Photo: Kaste bag made of seat belts and Pilke-belt bag made of left over denim and seat belts. (Credits: Photographer Oskari Sarkima. Models: Linda Kemppainen and Tiia Ennala)
Finnish design house Globe Hope has been living up to its brand name promise since 2003, giving new life to seat belts from old vehicles, industrial carpeting and a surplus of army materials. More than 15 years after its introduction in the Nordic market, Globe Hope continues to be a model, not only in their creative use of refashioning materials, but also in their business development. They choose to keep their production work in Finland and neighboring Estonia, which lowers their carbon footprint and raises their ecological hand print, publish their supply chain information for transparency and select retailers and influencers that espouse the same mentality of sustainability to sell and promote their products.
Popular Usva-bag made and Nuoska laptop-bag, both made of army fabrics (Credits: Photographer Oskari Sarkima)
In a direct response to the changes in the early 2000s when production was moving to cheap production countries, founder and CEO Seija Lukkala created Globe Hope as a way of celebrating the carefully crafted textiles she loved. The company started with one-of-a-kind items created from local thrift store finds such as unique blankets, but eventually began creating a series of products from materials that were going to waste.
With two collections launched each year, Spring-Summer and Fall-Winter, Globe Hope has turned away from consumer recycling and shifted its model towards industrial leftovers such as army and medical uniforms, fabrics, leather, industrial fair carpets and seatbelts. While conventional wisdom might lead us to believe these items would be donated or given free of cost (as they would have been disposed of either way) Globe Hope purchases these materials from different national suppliers.
(Left) Backpack made of airbag fabric. (Right) Classic black Kaste-bag made of seat belts. (Credits: Photographer Oskari Sarkima).
Naturally, the development of clothing or bags can only take place once the material has been secured. Globe Hope’s team of eight, based 50 km from Helsinki in Nummela (Finland), designs collections that are timeless and avoid obsessing or studying trends too closely. Instead, they turn their creativity to researching and adapting materials. Always looking to innovate, in Spring 2020 they will explore vehicle air bag material for new products. With new materials, the team can also explore different formats. For instance, smaller bags and pouches are more difficult to achieve with recycled seat belts.
It is amazing when a material can shine and give its best qualities to product that is functional and esthetical.”
A sustainable approach to materials wouldn’t be as impactful without a companywide policy towards responsible production and consumption. The company uses renewable sources of gas and electricity at its headquarters and follows the sustainability criteria decreed by EKOenergy. The tags and stickers used to describe and price all items are biodegradable and all waste is carefully recycled or disposed of.
In a world inundated with mass-produced, fast fashion choices and their social, economic and environmental consequences, Globe Hope has been a leader for nearly two decades and hasn’t contended itself with stopping at recycled materials.
They continue to publish responsibility reports, calculate CO2 emissions and share clear evidence that points to the benefits of producing locally and with pre-existing materials in an effort to influence others.