The Flagship Freitag Shop in Zurich, Switzerland: A Towering Mecca of Eco-Design
Down a street that's more like an alley along the railroad tracks to Zurich's Hauptbahnhof (main train station) sits a stack of colorful shipping containers. It's Geroldstrasse 17, the address of the flagship store for the homegrown Swiss brand Freitag and it's something of a shopper's mecca for those "in the know" in the design, fashion and eco communities.
Why so? Well, Freitag is a bag and accessories company begun by two brothers who were inspired by the tarps that cover semi-truck loads driving around Europe, delivering their goods. The boys would buy the used tarps, wash them and cut them to repurpose the durable material into messenger bags, backpacks, travel duffles, even wallets...until it caught on and became a proper business with a look desired the world over.
Freitag bags are easy to spot; just go to any college campus, design school or "cool" town (Portland and New York are great places for Freitag-spotting). Owners of Freitags have been known to nod at each other in passing, as if members of a secret club...yet all they did was invest a little money into a top quality accessory that originates here, in Zurich.
Personally, we're huge Freitag fans, so we made sure to swing by during a recent Switzerland stop.
The store is an architectural interest, being completely joined of the recycled shipping containers as it is. Shopping only extends about half-way up; the rest, if you climb stair after stair, is open to the elements up to the lookout point, with its viewing goggles and enviable view of the rail yards and expressway. Shoppers visit to buy the harder to find items, to have a wider variety of patterns, or simply to chill and use the free WiFi inside.
Everything sounds great, right? It is, except for the fact that their international demand has caused prices of the products to go up and up as the range increases; 200 Euro for a messenger bag is average. There's even a coffeetable book (also clad in truck tarp) and you can order a punching bag! You could probably even commissions Freitag to do up an entire apartment...but as evidenced from the shop, there's no guarantee it'll be anything other than visually attractive.
[Photos: Cynthia Drescher for Jaunted]