A few months ago I had lunch with an agency that shared a very, very cool product with me. One of the girls was carrying a bag that had a truly unique feature in its construction. The bag was made from leather and aluminium can ring pulls. That’s right, the thing you open aluminium can sodas with. Random right? Only, I can remember sitting there, seeing the bag for the first time, and thinking this looked absolutely incredible. While the bags themselves are desirable fashion items, the story behind the bags is what prompted me to follow up with this piece.
Let’s kick this off with explaining the story behind the brand. Bottletop was founded in 2002 by Cameron Saul after he discovered a bag in Uganda made from recycled bottle tops. He brought the idea home to the UK and with the help of his father, who also happened to be the Founder of Mulberry, they created a bag that would end up being the talk of the town for 2002. Its success opened the door for the future and Bottletop saw room for change. It was actually Oliver Wayman that continued the story of Bottletop designs and lead us to where we are today. In a very similar way that Cameron first discovered the bottle top bag, Oliver tripped upon a bag made of silver ring pulls that resembled chain mail. With the help of Luciano Dos Santos, the new Bottletop design was born.
So how is this helping the world, as that’s what you’re wondering at this point right? Well, let’s start from the source. Each and every Bottletop bag is handmade at the Bottletop atelier in Salvador, Brazil. Local women, who were previously unemployed, have been trained to make the products from up-cycled metal waste. Bottletop gave them a second chance at life and they continue to support the community by training more women each year. At present, there is actually a waiting list of women who would like to be involved. Yes, the charity with this organisation truly starts at the root.
And now onto the flip side. Where do the proceeds from the bags go?
Bottletop actually funds the Bottletop Foundation, an organisation that supports over 35,000 young people each year through education projects in Malawi, Mozambique, Rwanda, Brazil and the UK. Through the Bottletop Foundation, communities are being educated on relevant issues today including HIV, drug abuse and teenage pregnancy.
Interested in learning more? This is a brand and an organization that is definitely worth a second look. Read more on www.bottletop.org.
Bottletop bags and accessories already have a cult like following. Celebrities such as Jessica Alba, Kate Moss, Anna Wintour and Rachel Weisz are all counted as fans of the brand. It should also be noted that the designer of the current collection, Vincent Du Sartel, has worked with some of the world’s biggest bag brands in the world including Louis Vuitton and Loewe. Yes, that’s an impressive resume, which makes for some seriously covetable bags this season.
And now, for the current collection, we have another famous face lending their name in support. Supermodel Candice Swanepoel is the campaign face for autumn winter 2013, as seen above.
The future continues to look bright for Bottletop and we’ll be following them along the way, with our favourite Bottletop bag in tow.