In 1993, graphic designers Markus and Daniel Freitag were looking for a functional, water-repellent and robust bag to hold their creative work. Inspired by the multicolored heavy traffic that rumbled through the Zurich transit intersection in front of their flat, they developed a messenger bag from used truck tarpaulins, discarded bicycle inner tubes and car seat belts. This is how the first FREITAG bags took shape in the living room of their shared apartment – each one recycled, each one unique.
With their innovation, the brothers inadvertently triggered a seismic event in the world of bag making. Its tremors have since made themselves felt in Zurich and the cities of Europe and spread all the way to Asia, making FREITAG the unofficial outfitter of all urban, bike-riding individualists. Today the products are available in 24 FREITAG Stores as well as at over 400 resellers around the world. In the FREITAG Online Store there’s an extensive choice of over 4000 unique products.
FREITAG has been at home in the Nœrd industrial complex in Zurich-Oerlikon since 2011. This is where the truck tarps we collect are taken apart, washed and cut to size.
In 2014, the bag-makers gave themselves a new raw material to play with: F-ABRIC. Developed in-house from the ground up, the rugged, completely compostable textiles are based on bast fibers that are produced using a minimum of resources within a 2500-kilometer radius of headquarters. F-ABRIC thus more than lives up to the FREITAG philosophy: We think and act in cycles.
FREITAG has not only committed to the circular, closed-loop economy but is also organized in circles: in 2016, the company, which still belongs to the Freitag brothers, abandoned the classical hierarchical structure and replaced it with Holacracy, a form of organization based on self-management.
Oliver Brunschwiler, Creative Director & Lead Link FREITAG, gives insights into the success story of the brand.
Leadlink at FREITAG
After finishing School of Applied Arts, Oliver Brunschwiler traveled the world as a professional snowboarder and founded his own snowboard clothing label. At the same time he graduated from commercial and management school. After completing his snowboarding career, he was art- and creative director at renowned international design and advertising agencies. In 1999 he co-founded the branding and communication agency /DEPARTMENT, which he sold to the international agency network Foote, Cone & Belding in 2013 (www.fcb.com).
In 2014 he became a member of the FREITAG Executive Board as Head of Brand and responsible for creation and communication. Since 2016, he has energized various holocratic roles such as Commercial Director, Creative Direction and Strategic Planner. In October 2018 he was promoted Lead Link of the Company which, in the world of domination and hierarchical organization charts, translates into Delegate of the Board of Directors.