Founders: Chiara Rivituso and Matteo Bastiani
Current location: Milan, Italy
Day job: The two, who are engaged to be married and have worked alongside one another for several years, work in fashion design for other brands, focusing on bags and accessories. Bastiani is a technical consultant who creates prototypes and Rivituso is a pattern and product developer.
The gist: Rivituso and Bastiani turn discarded packaging — from Amazon, McDonalds, and other recognizable brands — into bags modeled after luxury brands like Prada and Dior. “[It’s] to communicate our vision of a more sustainable environment,” writes Rivituso. The designs are uncanny. For those who love the noughties shoulder bag look, there is a Fendi baguette meticulously crafted out of a McDonald’s brown bag, complete with the fast food company’s Golden Arch logo acting as the buckle. Also in the mix is a Dior Saddle bag that is crafted out of a Kellogg’s Corn Flakes cereal box. Here, the Kellogg’s cut-out red K logo replaces Dior’s metal D ornament for a cheeky twist. Rivituso and Bastiani don’t only use food packaging, either. Sometimes they use packaging from fashion labels. In one instance, they rendered Jacquemus’s Le Chiquito dime-size purse out of a paper Chanel beauty bag, which came with the French House’s name stamped all over it.
How did they start? It all began a few years ago when the two wanted to push the limits of what they could create. Their first bag was the Balenciaga Bazaar tote made from Tesco shopping bags. “At that time we were pushed by curiosity–what else can we do with our technique?–and focused on reusing,” writes Rivituso. “The challenge was mixing and matching something from everyday life and iconic fashion world and to explore the possibility to switch them.” Their first collection consisted of carryalls made out of plastic grocery bags. “We wanted to bring the craftsmanship leather goods details into everyday objects.”
The COVID-19 lockdown marked a new chapter for the two’s project. When COVID-19 hit, Rivituso and Bastiani looked how to make something out of relatively nothing. They explored their surroundings and decided to use all of the materials that were available at home. In March, they made a Falabella tote by Stella McCartney out of packaging from the Italian biscuit brand, Abbracci, which means “hugs” in English. “It was a message to all our friends and the people we love in that scary strange moment when we couldn’t be physically close to each other,” writes Rivituso.
Ultimately, there is a bigger philosophy behind the project. Because Rivituso and Bastiani are upcycling items like scrap wrappings and fast food containers, they’re promoting a more sustainable mindset. “We’d like to inspire people to create rather than waste and we’d like to also involve brands to embrace this vision,” writes Rivituso. “People are becoming more and more sensitive about upcycling.” Good news: These upcycling bags are actually functional. (Though like any bag, you wouldn’t want to carry an anvil in them.) Originally they had been also infusing actual bag materials like leather straps or metal reinforcements, but they’re currently focusing on making their bags from completely upcycling packaging.
You can’t buy them, yet. The two hope to one day launch an exhibition for the bags. But selling them isn’t completely out of the question. “We are also considering creating some series to sell rather than single products. We love the idea of collection and repetition as means to emphasize the concept.” Until then, Rivituso and Bastiani are in the midst of creating behind-the-scenes how-to tutorials to show people how they can create the DIY bags on their own. Just think of how many Prada Re-Edition 2000 bags can be made using Amazon Prime shipping envelopes!