Kite.pride is a sustainable fashion brand based in Tel Aviv, Israel, that creates durable bags made out of repurposed kitesurfing sails. The company was founded by Matthias and Tabea Oppliger, a Swiss couple who relocated to Tel Aviv from Switzerland to provide rehabilitation and employment to the victims of the sex trafficking industry under the umbrella of their NGO, Glowbalact. The employees in this social business are making their way back into the workforce through the safe working environment that Kite Pride provides.
The idea originated when Rebekka Federer, a young kitesurfer in Silvaplana, Switzerland, began designing products out of broken kites / sails and kite.pride was born. She later handed it over to Tabea and Matthias who then worked on the designs and created a product range with the goal to create unique products that are good for the environment.
In fall 2017, the couple founded the company A.I.R LTD as an umbrella company from which kite.pride was born - giving a second wind for kites and people. The brand offers trendy bags, travel totes and larger catch-alls, upcycled from colourful kite-surfing sails, yacht sails and parachutes that were headed to the trash by giving them a second wind.
We followed their design journey to understand their unique approach to creating sustainable products from old kites.
Kite Donations -
Kite.pride's material is collected from kite surfers around the world, who donate their broken plastic kites / sails instead of throwing them in the trash.
Kite surfing is a popular sport in the Mediterranean region and the brand works with various outdoor water sports stores such as surfing stores and sail clubs both in Israel and globally that help kite.pride collect kites, sails and parachutes.
One such drop off point that constantly donates kites to kite.pride is the Yamit Sail Club. They are located in the centre of Tel Aviv by the popular and constantly buzzing surf spot 'Hilton Beach'. On this particular donation, a North kite was donated.
(Above: Kite Collection from Yamit Sail Club)
Cut and Design -
Once they receive the kite / sail, the cleaning process is done by laying the it out on their studio’s rooftop in order to clean and polish the kite of any sand residue.
Once the kite / sail is cleaned, the design team starts cutting it in order to create bags. The kites / sails are usually between 7 metres - 17 metres in length and the material is enough to make multiple products out of it. Once cut into various pattern pieces, the design team mix and match various pieces in order to design a bag which is aesthetically and environmentally conscious.
(Above: kite.pride design team at work)
Sew and Tag -
Once the sewing team of kite.pride receives the bag bundles created from the design team - they sew and tag. After which the quality assurance team gives the final approval of the bag before it goes up for their online store.
Each kite.pride bag has its own production time due to various factors such as difficulty, design, how broken the kite / sail is, etc.
(Above: kite.pride bag stitched & ready for the shoot)
kite.pride is a unique brand that solves a two-fold need of rehabilitating victims of the sex trade industry by training them and providing employment along with creating one-of-a-kind, durable products out of used kites that were originally headed to the landfill.
Their goal is not only to create a profitable business but to create a sustainable business where all their stakeholders benefit alike while building a brand that has a unique approach to design.
If you kite surf and want to know about the personal donations, you can do so here.
They also send a free kite.pride product for every kite / sail / parachute donated to them.
Types of sails they collect: Kitesurfing kites, Yacht sails & Olympic sails, double handling boat sails & parachutes.
Browse through kite.pride's website here.
Find them on Instagram.
Photo Credit: kite.pride
Location: kite.pride Studio & Yamit Sail Club