by Paul Armstrong
Most people would balk at being given "waste materials and innovation" as a jumping off point, but 21-year-old Sophie Postma found inspiration instead. Her line of minimalist clutches, bags and iPad cases are handmade from discarded rubber inner-tube that is then lovingly resurrected to the highest specifications, in a similar approach as Freitag bags, which are cut from used truck tarps. The Reclaim Bags line is, as you might expect, mostly black—sometimes with lettering, sometimes without—although the limited edition "White PVC and Rubber Square" is currently in production for a number of private clients.
Turning the once-discarded into an eye-catching accessory is no easy feat. The average piece takes two to four hours of careful handling and attention to go from rubber to riches. The materials come from various places across the world—often coming to Postma marked (or "scarred"), rusty and in need of a careful cleaning process before being polished and cut. The resulting aesthetic and texture is an impressive, somewhat sensory affair from the moment you pick it up—each piece challenging the holder to see its message (in part an homage to Postmas' inspiration, Gareth Pugh). "Creating something beautiful from something that would have been waste really appealed to me," says Postma. "The concept is part perception shift around upcycling, with the ultimate goal of reducing the stigma surrounding sustainability in fashion."
Images by Ana Henriques