The Thai Bag Brand Made from Recycled Concrete Bags That Will Help Decrease Trash By Up to 4-5 Tons Per Year
SACKITEM isn’t just a bag, it’s the idea of turning trash into fashion for everyone
SACKITEM Upcycle Bag is a fashion brand founded by Mr. First Thanarak Worarithanont, a man filled with ambition. He never studied in any fields of design but what he had been involved with the fashion industry as his father designed clothing brands. Later on, Mr. First himself would also get to designing his own clothes, as well as his own jeans. Finally, he would come discover that he was most fond of bag designing. But it turned out the bags he ended up designing would be unconventional, mold-breaking and unorthodox. In a world filled with cloth tote bags and leather bags, he made bags crafted from recycled materials. The core materials in this case are recycled concrete bags. What started out as a passion would become a challenge. Siam Discovery discovered SACKITEM and put their products up for sale at Ecotopia on its 4th floor, inviting both Thais and international visitors to familiarize themselves with this one-of-a-kind brand.
The Brand’s First Ideas
SACKITEM was born of the brain, the heart, and the hands of Mr. First. You can certainly say that it’s an upcycle Thai brand, complete with its design and the brand owner’s key message. “I think that we are giving new uses to the trash that we have. We want our customers to be willing to apply trash into their fashion and I try to make people from abroad pick these types of trash and bring it home with them.” Of all the customers who’ve purchased these bags, 90% of them are actually foreigners. Today, Mr. First wants to let his fellow Thai compatriots know that there is now a Thai upcycle brand of bags available; one that is both as attractive and applicable as the other international brands around the world.
Mr. First’s interest in bags actually stems from his fondness of backpacks. The more sections they have, the more he’s bound to like them. “I always knew that I liked bags and I also wanted to do something that involved helping the environment as well. So that’s when I started doing my homework. I came across a brand from Switzerland that made bags out of trucking container sleeves and the end result was beautiful. This was how I became inspired,” said First.
Mr. First conducted endless research regarding materials that were recyclable and durable. That was when he came across concrete bags. “I first saw my grandmother’s rice sacks so I experimented with them by stitching them together, using my prior knowledge of designing jeans. When I was done, I tried selling them and they did sell. That’s when I began doing some more serious studying and research.” Mr. First would later discover the best sacks for application could be found on construction sites.
Plastic Sacks and Concrete Sacks, Attractive and Durable
Concrete sacks are both attractive and durable. We often wonder where they go once they’re no longer used. Mr. First took an interest in these concrete sacks and went on to find out where the used sacks ended up. “All the used concrete sacks would eventually end up at a plastic smithy, where they turned them into secondhand plastics. But I believed there could be more uses for these concrete sacks so that we could add more value. I finally found a company that could do what I envisioned and I first thought of a design before manufacturing my first backpack,” recalls Mr. First. From the first bag, to the first ten bags, to the first hundred bags… SACKITEM has become Thailand’s first upcycle brand and its fame has reached overseas. Until now, the brand continues to come out with new bag designs without any signs of stopping. Each bag has its own unique design, making people wanting to own one.
Aside from the bag designs that have people curious, constantly picking them up and inspecting every inch of them, the bags from SACKITEM undergo a complicated and thorough manufacturing process before they’re put up for display. “We have to clean out every concrete sack first. This is done by hand. Then we have to select which concrete sacks are still suitable after undergoing multiple cycles of usage. This ensures that we get a beautiful bag. We use sacks from actual construction sites. First, we have to empty out the sacks and then clean them thoroughly,” explains Mr. First. But it’s not just concrete sacks that are used by SACKITEMS, but ice sacks and rice sacks from hundreds of brands as well that are implemented in the manufacturing process.
First Customer was a Foreigner
The international status of SACKITEM began when Mr. First sold his first bag. “Our first bag, which was a backpack, was modeled after a McDonald’s bag and the name of our brand meant ‘an item you must have and can’t live without’,” Mr. First explained. As it turned out, the first bag ever sold by SACKITEM went to a foreign customer. “The customer was a foreigner. He said he liked the brand because of its eco-friendly concept, in addition to the fact that the bag could store his things the way he needed,” recalls Mr. First. What makes Mr. First even more proud is the fact that all the materials used in making his bags can be found in Thailand. When more international customers came to buy his products, Mr. First developed his brand logo so that it would present a more international feel. “I’m trying to let them feel that they’ve reached Thailand and I want to give them that stamp of Thainess. On the logo, you’ll see the words ‘Bangkok Thailand’. I want them to carry those bags around the world and let others know that they [the bags] are from Thailand.” Aside from the words “Bangkok Thailand”, the logo also contains the phrase “Reduce Global Warming” to remind customers of the brand’s ultimate mission.
It is this kind of mindset that has allowed Mr. First to continue with his work so that those from later generations can take his ideas and build upon them as well. This has led to the creation of a learning lab in the Nakhon Nayok province, whose goal is to inform people that trash can be applied to fashion. Mr. First said with a smile, “Every day, I think that now that I’m in this position, I want to encourage my customers to turn trash into fashion. I want people to find uses and applications for trash. After all, there are foreigners using our bags and carrying them around overseas.”
SACKITEM has truly expanded overseas. Today, Mr. First has stores in South Korea, England, Japan and France. This is truly a great achievement for him. He has considered using trash from the oceans, in addition to finding new design applications that go beyond bags for discarded metal. Recently, SACKITEM has worked with the Thai Elephant Camp Foundation, where they cleaned out sacks of elephant food and turned them into bags for members of the camp to sell.
How can you not be proud of SACKITEM? In just a year, SACKITEM has helped reduce up to 4-5 tons of trash. From a dumps full of garbage, we now have works of fashion instead. Siam Discovery has had the great pleasure of meeting Mr. First, with Siam Discovery becoming the first store for SACKITEM’s products. For the past year and a half, this brand has been regarded as a best-seller. If you hear his story, it should come as no surprise. It is a brand born of deep ideas and actions that have benefitted people around the world. We would like to sincerely thank Mr. Thanarak Worarithanont.
Those of you interested in SACKITEM’s products can come to the Ecotopia zone, 4th FL, Siam Discovery.