You don’t have to cut a forest or use animal skin to run a healthy business.
That’s what they say at Ecowings, a sustainable brand founded in 2011 by Kapil Sharma, a very talented designer from India.
Conservation and upcycling inspired him to design and produce unique bags and accessories together with 20 local artisans from his home country.
Upcycle: The production process
The Ecowings team removes truck inner tubes from the waste stream and upcycles them into high-quality products.
Tires are collected, sorted, and extensively cleaned before they are cut into various designs. The material is strong, looks good, and is more animal-friendly than leather.
But isn’t rubber polluting? Isn’t it bad for our health?
The answer is no. That’s what a study from the Dutch National Institute for Public Health and the Environment concluded. And it’s the same results Ecowings got from an independent study they conducted themselves with the Cosanta consultancy organization. The findings are clear: Ecowings bags and accessories fully comply with the European guidelines as drawn up by REACH (Registration, Evaluation and Authorisation of Chemicals) and are 100% safe.
Ecowings is tackling a big issue here. In India large amounts of waste (including a lot of rubber) are burned in incinerators, which produces chemicals that are bad for our health and the environment. Plus, many animals near the waste piles confuse the rubber with food and eat it, which results in indigestible materials in their stomach.
Fair-trade and ethical
Besides contributing to the Earth with a sustainable product, Ecowings provides employment to the economically weaker section of the rural population around Indore and helps them to develop their skills.
We are very involved with our local workmen and consider them family. We respect their cultural values and traditions and match work tasks with their skills and knowledge, the brand states in their website.
They also make sure they work safely and healthy: their workshop is located on the edge of the city in an open and green environment. It’s spacious, neat and clean and there is a lot of fresh air flowing through the building. They use sustainable and environmentally friendly materials and products as much as possible.
Wages depend on experience and skills, but are certainly above the standard local wage.