2017 FINALIST

NELI STRUKELJ - NELIZABETA

Finalist of the The Basic Adhesives Best Green Handbag



Slovenia



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2017 Finalist NELI STRUKELJ NELIZABETA

NELI STRUKELJ FINALIST'S PROFILE

What is your bag made out of?
The Modulart barrel bag is made out of upcycled pre-consumer and post-consumer fabric leftovers. Re-using (upcycling) these materials is an important aspect of environmentally friendly design because it helps to reduce the landfill textile waste. The bag is made from modular units which are laser cut out of the material I make by gluing three layers of upcycled fabric (recycled felt and textile leftovers) together, using unwoven glue fabric and pressed by heat. This process gives the textile stiffness and stability and enables the modules to stick together. The bag is made without sewing, using only intertwining and interweaving of the tags of the modular units. When making the bags, the seams are replaced with connections between individual modules, and the intertwining of module tags results in a dynamic relief (surface) structure. Making the bags without sewing and with the use of upcycled materials helps save energy, water, and materials. Simple assembly and disassembly of the modules simplify the maintenance and repair of the products since the damaged modules can be replaced with new ones. Due to its modular structure, the bag is completely recyclable at the end of its lifecycle.

Where do you source your materials?
I collect fabric leftovers from local textile companies and I also use scrap material of my own production. I buy recycled felt from a local company and use eco-friendly leather leftovers from Slovenian upholstery industry. Zippers, buttons, and clasps are reused and collected from discarded bags. The collection was designed according to the zero waste strategy. We use secondary material, which reduces the amot of waste, while the square shape of the modules ensures the optimal use of material with no leftovers.

What is your design inspiration & why is working with green/eco friendly products important to you?
Ever since I started to work as a designer I was looking for solutions that would enable me to follow my passion for creating and at the same time limit the negative impact that each new product has on the environment. From the point of view of sustainability, the modular design provides several advantages and benefits. The same module can be used in different products, which helps rationalize the production process. The negative influence on the environment in the distribution phase can be reduced through economical packaging and an innovative business model that enables users to buy only the parts and instructions and then make the bag by themselves. The bag was inspired by traditional Balkan patterns. It is a modern interpretation of a folk craft and embroidery. The process of making bags, which consists of connecting smaller units into larger structures, is reflected also on the symbolic plane of forming interactions and connections between people and connecting individuals to their rich cultural heritage. We are not creating new patterns only in the literal sense, but also metaphorically since the aim of the project is to create new, more sustainable patterns of production and consumption.

Have you heard of Basic Adhesives?
Yes, I have, while I was doing a research on eco-friendly products and fabrics for my master thesis but I haven't had a chance to try their products in my production.

Would you be interested in learning more about eco-friendly glue and edge paint?
Yes, definitely. I'm sure I could benefit greatly from their products since glue is an important product in the production phase of both the material and the bag. Eco-friendly glue would make a big difference in making the bag even more sustainable.

Bag Description
NELIZABETA, Modulart style; barrel bag; upcycled textile leftovers, recycled felt, eco leather; 190USD

See other finalists from the 2017 handbag awards