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Eco-chic entrepreneurs

Fashion & Beauty

Two stylish opportunities from the world of sustainable fashion: ECOIST Known as the candy wrapper handbags, Ecoist‘s bags (USD 28-58) are made from misprinted or discontinued snack bags, soda labels and candy wrappers. A family business based in Miami, the company believes that consumers should be able to enjoy a modern lifestyle, buying their favourite things, while also doing good to the Earth. Material that would otherwise end up in landfills is folded into straps and woven into bags and clutches by Mexican artisans. Ecoist works with organizations in Mexico and Central America that help people use recycled materials to create a living. Products are designed by Ecoist’s international network of eco-fashion designers, and colours change depending on which wrappers are available. Partnering with Luna, a maker of energy bars for women, Ecoist is producing its first branded bag made from misprinted Luna bar packaging. Talks with other major snack brands are likely to lead to more limited editions. The eco-friendly attitude doesn’t stop at recycling: Ecoist also plants a tree for every bag sold. Their combination of fun, clever designs and sustainable approach is doing the company good – projected sales for 2006 are USD 1.5 million. Ecoist’s bags are sold through their website, and are stocked by stores in the US, Japan, Puerto Rico and the UK. Candy wrapper belts are next. RAG BAG Meanwhile, in New Delhi, ragpickers are going after plastic bags that are littering streets and clogging sewage drains. Plastic bags are collected, washed, dried and sorted by colour. They’re then thrown into a machine that presses them into thicker, more durable sheets. The sheets are cut, lined with cloth and sewn or molded into stylish bags, wallets and organizers, designed and sold by Rag Bag, which is based in The Netherlands. With organic foods currently leading the way in green becoming mainstream, there’s an ocean of opportunity waiting for entrepreneurs who can match consumers’ preference for sustainability with stylish products and services. Be inspired!

Website: www.ecoist.com

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