Urban Velo

Freitag Zurich Container Store

Freitag is one of the older companies still standing in the messenger bag game — they’ve been making bags from repurposed truck tarps since 1993. Martin and Daniel Freitag are graphic designers and brothers that were looking for a waterproof way to transport materials and found inspiration in the messenger bags and trucks making their way through the Zurich traffic outside of their living room. The Freitag factory is still in Zurich with the rest of the company, and in 2006 the pictured downtown store was built, using 19 rusty, reused shipping containers. Gutted, cleaned and fastened together the Zurich store has four floors of retail with 1500+ individual bags organized in drawers throughout. Climb up the stairs and go “truckspotting” nine shipping containers up in the air, a structure high and narrow enough that you can feel it sway slightly in the wind. The view is industrial and often overcast, but the trucks zipping past and the printed tarps securing their loads is what helps to feed the design and multitude of bags in the floors below.

Seemingly endless drawers house roughly 40 different styles of bag, each one unique as no two are made from quite the same printed piece of tarpaulin. On the Saturday I visited it was a crush of people opening and closing drawers looking for just the right bag to fit their style, with Freitag bags clearly appealing to more of an everyday user base than the cyclists we imagine wearing such bags in the United States. It seems as if the Swiss appreciate quality, locally made goods and aren’t afraid to pay the price with wallets from $50, laptops cases from $100 USD, and the smallest messenger bags starting at $200 USD. See more from Freitag at www.freitag.ch

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