LONDON — Three sisters, Sophia, Georgia and Nina Scott, are taking a leap from the big screen to the design studio, all in the name of sustainability, and the environment.
They have embarked on a mission to create travel bags from 100 percent recycled materials under a new label called Groundtruth, an offshoot of Groundtruth Productions, a film production company behind documentaries that focus on humanitarian crises, social and environmental issues worldwide.
Their aim is to use those stories and experiences to create eco-friendly products.
“Every element of the bag, from the thread to the zips, is 100 percent recycled,” said Georgia who cofounded the film production company with Sophia. “We feel 100 percent confident in our product because we have created and traveled with it ourselves. It just works.”
The bags are made from recycled plastic bottles. Printed on each style is the number of plastic bottles taken out of the environment to create it. Some 120 bottles are used to make a backpack and, so far, Groundtruth has recycled 213,300 plastic bottles.
“We have taken our time and done our research and created a completely bespoke main body fabric. It is made from recycled PET plastic that is durable and highly water resistant. We also have an air mesh fabric that we use for our straps and it is lightweight and fast-drying,” said Nina.
The sisters have been working with manufacturers from Singapore to Jakarta to Japan to make fully recycled components, have partnered with a tree-planting organization and will donate bags to Syrian refugees.
The brand’s Rikr range uses recycled plastics, but the sisters are not stopping there. They are planning to launch one product range each year using a core eco-friendly material such as algae and fishing nets.
“The idea is that each range has a story attached to it,” said Sophia. “The Unda range is about deforestation and the loss of orangutan habitat.” That range will be made from fishing nets and will be field tested in Borneo.
Sophia also plans to make a film about the loss of the orangutan habitat.
Each of Groundtruth’s products has either been field tested by the sisters themselves or by ambassadors of the brand, including Robert Swan, the first man to walk both the South and North poles. He will be the face of the Rikr range and he will be taking one of Groundtruth’s bag on his upcoming expedition to the South Pole.
“Last year, Sophia and Georgia went to Antartica to test one of our prototypes. Our bags have also fallen off my bike with my laptop inside, and everything was fine because we’ve fashioned a suspended hammock in it,” said Nina.
Each range will carry two styles, a laptop bag and a backpack in two different sizes. The sisters believe they have included all the necessary elements such as a hidden passport and money pouch, a detachable waist strap, a camera bag, and a tech pouch for cables. A luggage collection is also in the works.
“The designs originated from function and our experiences of traveling so much in such diverse situations. We’ve been traveling with our products for the past two years; it has really made our travels seamless,” said Sophia.
The backpack retails at 256 pounds and the 15-inch laptop sleeve retails for 78 pounds.
“We want normal people to be able to buy our products so it was important for us not to have them overpriced. We also want them to be comfortable and to fit everyone, our 24-liter backpack fits Sophia who is a little bit smaller, and also my husband who is really tall,” said Georgia.
Groundtruth products are available online and in the brand’s Shoreditch pop-up shop, which will run Sept. 6-11. The sisters are also looking to partner with key retailers in the U.S. and the U.K.
“This is just the start. We have a long list of things we want to do and we have a whole department within Groundtruth that will be dedicated to material development — not just with plastics,” said Georgia.