More than 20 large banners that encouraged United Airlines customers to “Fly the Friendly Skies” at Chicago O’Hare airport found new life as 100 eco-friendly carry-on bags thanks to the Re:new Project and some talented students.
United Eco-skies Upcycle Travel Bag Challenge
The airline company worked with the Columbia College Chicago Department of Fashion Studies and the Re:new Project – a nonprofit that provides employment opportunities for refugee women – to transform the large fabric signs into hand made duffel bags and backpacks upcycled from United’s “fly the friendly skies” banners.
After United selected the winning designs, Re:new stepped in to produce the one-of-a-kind, hand-sewn bags featuring distinct skyline images from the airline’s hub cities.
Each unique piece sported some kind of combination of airport codes, city skylines and United branding.
“United is committed to operating sustainably and responsibly, and that means finding creative ways to further reduce our impact on the environment,” said the airline’s Managing Director of Environmental Affairs and Sustainability Angela Foster-Rice. “As part of our Eco-Skies commitment, we are excited to give these banners a second life, and know our customers will enjoy taking home a piece of the friendly skies.”
The fully lined duffels have interior pockets and detachable tote bags with detachable over-shoulder straps. Of course, they are ideally sized for under-seat stowage (9 inches x 10 inches x 17 inches) and easy access during your flight.
The fully lined backpacks include interior tablet pocket and adjustable shoulder straps. Also, ideally sized for under-seat stowage (9 inches x 10 inches x 17 inches).
The duffel bags ($149.99) and the backpacks ($139.99) were made available via the United Airlines online store but have already sold out.
The purchases provided employment and community for refugee women of the Re:new Project, resettled in the USA. The bags have tags that exclaim you “carry the story of the remarkable woman who made it, right here in the USA.” They also feature the United Eco-Skies logo in green.
All proceeds benefited the Eco-Skies CarbonChoice Alto Mayo Forest Carbon project in Peru – providing jobs for local families and incentivizes new approaches to farming that support rather than undermine native forests.
Due to the upcycled nature of the materials, the graphics and cityscape placement of these accessories varied, making each bag truly one-of-a-kind. Each duffel featured varied printing from the pictures shown.
Although already sold out, customers were able to purchase the upcycled backpacks and duffel bags by visiting the online United Shop.
The video below shows some of the design process and the students speak about these unique travel bags: