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When we discovered the amazing recycled inner tube bags made by a young design company called Neumatica out in Argentina, it signalled the start of our very first South American partnership. Soon, we were excitedly logging on to DHL each morning to watch as our parcel made its way across the Atlantic. At one point we did start to wonder whether the German customs people in Leipzig would ever chill out and get the parcel moving again, but eventually it found its way to us.

4.50pm – 28 September - shipment picked up, Buenos Aires
8.50pm – 30 September - processed at DHL location, Madrid
2.30am – 1 October - clearance delay, Leipzig
10.07am – 8 October - clearance processing complete, East Midlands
8.11am – 9 October - arrived at DHL facility, Leeds
1.40pm – 11 October - shipment delivered, York

After all that, thank goodness we were in!

Wanting to find ways to help the environment brother and sister design duo Roberto and Debora Piwnica decided to start saving inner tubes of tyres and make them roll again, turning them into something they call daily design objects.

When used rubber inner tubes from vehicles are discarded into landfill, it takes more than 500 years to decompose and if burned they are highly contaminating. In Argentina alone, around 100,000 tonnes of this stuff is disposed of each year. “Recycling is a compromise with the planet”, says Roberto, “…and fashion has to do its part”.

So just three years ago, Neumatica starting doing some amazing things with rubber, transforming mountains of useless inner tubes into works of art and putting them back out onto the streets to start a second life. Working with inner tubes isn't straightforward. Sourced from all over Argentina, the inner tubes are put through a double cleaning process before each pattern is hand-cut, piece by piece and finally sealed with a special UV protection agent.

All rubber inner tubes are plain when they're new and have no texture. However after a few months and years out on the road, the heat of the tire transfers its own tread imprint to them, giving unique, multiple textures to all of Neumatica’s upcycled bags. Each finished piece has the story of many miles driven. No two Neumatica bags will ever be the same, guaranteeing you’ll be getting a unique, one-of-a-kind bag that will probably last you a lifetime!

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Bags by Neumatica