Armed with sailcloth, thread and heavy-duty scissors, long-time friends Barnaby Killam and Stuart Sproule launched Red Flag Design in 2004 in a tiny Vancouver studio. “We had intuition about design and style, but we didn’t have resources—so we just made resources for ourselves,” Sproule recalls. Both designers grew up summering along the coast and were influenced by their families’ involvement in offshore cruising, sailing and racing communities. These ties to the boating industry are what, in the end, inspired their debut and flagship product. What emerged was a unisex tote bag made of recycled sailcloth that applied two fundamental design principles: style and sustainability.
Red Flag Design’s newest Heavy Duty (HD) Mark II line is made of Hypalon, a sleek, rubber-coated, industrial boating fabric. All black, the range is perhaps the brand’s most versatile. The strong, seemingly masculine material is softened through the bags’ malleable shapes and intricate leather and sinnet rope detailing. As Killam says, “The products have the ability to transcend different demographics.”
Now they are re-appropriating 1960s vintage army tents into bags, and have been hired to recycle all kinds of other materials like corporate advertising, as well. Soon you might finally be wearing that favourite handbag you saw beckoning at you from a billboard.