These days, fashionistas are everywhere (guys, too!) Unfortunately, waste is also everywhere: clogging up our landfills, contaminating our water and costing us lots and lots of money. Dressing and accessorizing well doesn’t mean you have to live with a larger carbon footprint. Unique, planet-friendly designers such as English Retreads are working hard to prove that living a green lifestyle and staying up on the latest fashion doesn’t have to be mutually exclusive. Started in 2001 by Heather English, Boulder, CO-based English Retreads specializes in handcrafting stylish, one-of-a-kind handbags, belts, wallets and other accessories from recycled truck and bike inner tubes. While some people get their best ideas in the shower, Heather got hers while floating down Boulder Creek on an inner tube. “It occurred to me that this inner tube could be made into the handbag I’d been dreaming of,” English recalls. Determined to incorporate its environmental commitment into every aspect of the business, English Retreads repurposes inner tubes collected from local truck stops, and offsets 100% of the carbon emissions from its manufacturing operations.
“Each new design begins with the idea of striving to keep more waste out of the landfill by creating fashionable, yet sturdy items out of recycled materials,” English says on the company website. “And by turning recycling into a bold fashion statement, we at English Retreads can empower consumers with an ecologically sound alternative to animal products without compromising style or durability. It’s a win-win situation for everyone.”English Retreads offers handbags for every style, from the small and cute Beetle, to the large and luxurious Bentley. Men can get in on the upcycled action as well, with accessories like the Seat Belt and Side Car. You can learn more by checking out the English Retreads Twitter or Facebook page!