What is upcycling?
Upcycling is creating or reusing discarded objects or material and turning them into a product of higher quality, or for better environmental value. At Ullman Sails we use discarded sail material/off-cuts from the factory to create beautiful accessories and bags.
Environmental Impact and Benefits:
Ullman Sails produces a staggering amount of sails every year and we can’t ignore the fact that if we don’t upcycle our off cuts, we will produce far too much waste. This is how we came up with the idea to produce something that would be good for the environment and useful to our sailors and licensees. Ullman Sails Gear was born…
With Ullman Sails using methods of upcycling in our sail lofts we are minimizing the amount of waste and discarded material that is being sent to landfills each year or ending up in our oceans. We are also minimizing the amount of new materials needed for production, which in turn reduces air and water pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.
So what is Ullman Sails Gear?
Ullman Sails Gear is run by Rachael England. She designs all the different products, sources the upcycled materials and brings the gear to life with the help of three talented machinists. Old sails and offcuts are made into tote bags, make-up bags, toiletry bags and much more. The material that the sails are made from is waterproof, so it is perfect for sailing, but also makes a fashion statement. These bags aren’t just for sailors, they are also for fashionistas! They are very stylish and unique and we are sure that once all your family and friends see them, they will also want to be a part of this positive and unique fashion alternative.
An in-depth look at what happens at the loft in the gear division
Rachael gets inspired by the look and feel of the fabric because the fabrics work in different ways. She uses spinnaker, dacron and canvas cloth. Dacron is thick for stability, canvas adds weight to the product and breaks the pure white of the dacron. Spinnaker fabric is perfect for adding pops of colour. Rachael also has to keep in mind what the customer wants and what is trending in the fashion industry. She enjoys getting new ideas from Pinterest, fashion influencers and magazines.
Manufacturing of the merchandise
Once the merchandise has been designed into a pattern, a template is made and they start the cutting process. Then the nesting process starts where all the panels are put together, then the hardware, and then the webbings (handles etc.). It is then given to the machinists to sew.
The machinists sew the panels using nylon thread. Rachael then does a quality check by pulling on the webbing to see if it has been hot-knifed, looking at the neatness of the sewing and deciding if she is happy with the overall look. She then sews the logos on. Afterwards, a final quality check is done and then it is packaged and ready for shipping.
Rachael has studied graphic and product design and got some help from a family friend, but from what Ullman Sails can see, she is a natural at what she does!