Collection by Aaron Britt

Touring the Freitag Factory


One of the highlights of my recent trip to Switzerland was a tour of Freitag factory in Zurich. The messenger bags first designed and developed by Markus and Daniel Freitag in 1993 have become serious objects of design lust. But watching how they go from the dirty tarp off of an 18-wheeler to a considered work of industrial and graphic design was incredible to see.

Click on the slideshow and follow the production process from its humble origins to a high design shop where the bags are sold.

The F-Factory, in an industrial corner of Zurich, is ground zero for Freitag manufacturing.
They start with a dirty truck tarp (about 2 tons of them come in every day) which the factory workers disassemble and...
From there it's into the industrial washing machines to clean the tarps up for production.
Once clean, the tarps are photographed and then rolled up for storage.
After choosing the tarp, each bag designer then sets out choosing which parts of the tarp he or she wants.
The bag designers use templates to make their cuts.
Stacks of precut pieces are then sent off to be sewn into full bags.
Once the bags are put together they're photographed from all angles by this camera.
Some bags are sent back to the factory from retailers who wind up with a dozen yellow bags and no more red ones.
Once the bags are finished many of the make their way over to the F-Shop about a quarter mile away.
Bags usually make their way to the shop by bicycle, Freitag's favorite mode of transportation.
The F-Shop is comprised of 17 shipping containers and was opened in 2006.
The sign out front encourages truckspotting from the tower's observation deck.
Inside the shop things are laid out quite geometrically, with walls of bags placed in pull-out drawers.