Sustainable everyday products made from hard-to-tear paper

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It was about time that the fashion industry showed more interest in finding alternatives to the conventional raw materials such as cotton or polyester it has used for a long time. Increased knowledge and pressure from customers have led to unusual materials, for example from mushrooms, oranges, pineapples, coffee or even bananas, being increasingly used and trialled by small fashion designers and even big companies such as Hugo Boss or Stella McCartney. This new movement is extremely important as the conventional fashion process is not environmentally friendly with its excess water usage, overproduction, chemical treatments, and high fashion waste.

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So every time when we find fashion products that are manufactured in a different way and sustainable to boot as well, we get very excited. That is why on a visit to the new Japan Centre on High Street Kensington in London we were gobsmacked to see beautiful bags and shoes made out of paper by a Japanese paper mill, Onao. These innovative and beautiful products are made from wood pulp and polyolefin (“soft Naoron”) or recycled polyester (“RPF Naoron”) from used plastic bottles and textile products. This Japanese paper company is located in the region of Ichikawamisato, which has more than 1000 years of experience in paper (washi) manufacturing. In recent years, Onao tried to combine tradition with new technologies to develop papers that can also be used for interiors and for practical everyday products. Thanks to their experience and the availability of their machinery, Onao, which normally specialises more in specialty craft products, was able to create the experimental “Siwa” paper collection. The Siwa collection was born due to a collaboration between ONAO and industrial designer Naoto Fukasawa. This fruitful collaboration was able to create an innovative and durable collection of bags, purses and other accessories made from tear resistant paper. Although the Siwa collection is made from hard-to-tear paper, the products which are made of this strong paper are still soft and flexible. The products are very robust because the paper is highly water-resistant. Even wet items such as umbrellas can be put inside for example a Siwa bag without fear of it tearing. Siwa products are very light, but astonishingly strong - for example, its bags can hold weight up to 10 kgs.

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We really love the result of this beautiful collaboration as sustainable and modern everyday products are the end result.

For more information:

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