|Global Trash Chic turns garbage
such as disused rice sacks
into sought after accessories.
"Wear your trash in style" might just be the new motto for Thailand's capital. As Bangkok continues to play host to a growing industry of environmentally conscious business initiatives, accessories brand Global Trash Chic is setting the pace. Established by eco-entrepreneur and designer Anusorn Ngernyuang more than five years ago, Global Trash Chic uses materials that are not only unusual, but also very close to the heart of the nation: all of Ngernyuang's designs are made from discarded rice bags and garbage.
It's not hard to see where Ngernyuang gathered his inspiration for such an unusual fashion project. Thailand sits at number six on the list of the world's largest producers of rice, which inevitably means one thing: tons of rice bags find their way into Thai landfills every year.
Anusorn Ngernyuang saw potential in such large volumes of waste and so began collecting rice sacks from shops, small landfills and factories in the Bangkok area. Luckily for Ngernyuang, Thai rice bags are not your basic white or grey woven polypropylene sacks. Instead, they are bright, colourful and feature images of elephants, food, farm items, and even Buddhas.
Although the idea started small, the company now recycles over 2,000 rice bags a month, as well as juice cartons, fertilizer sacks and dog food bags. Materials are also collected in other areas of Thailand to provide a larger variety of colours and textures.
Global Trash Chic's true talent is its ability to turn various items of trash into sought-after accessories, making up a collection that boasts items such as tote bags, messenger bags and sport bags. Not limited to Thailand, the brand has expanded sales into other regions, including Japan and Europe, where the company markets items such as purses, aprons, makeup bags and even suitcases. The company has diversified even further, introducing items such teddy bears, sneakers and even beanbags alongside leather-looking purses and shoulder bags derived from discarded tires - a patriotic nod, perhaps, to the large number of mopeds and motorbikes roaming the streets of Thailand.
As demand for his products grew, Ngernyuang started training workers to produce items for his collection. Often hiring workers from rural villages, Ngernyuang provides training for his employees at his Bangkok base before allowing them to return home equipped with the skills and inspiration necessary to create Global Trash Chic products. True to the green ethos that underpins the company, Global Trash Chic's production techniques are simple - materials are sanitised and then cut and sewn to conform to a desired design.
Ngernyuang has long harboured an interest in eco-design and creativity. The designer also owns boutique hotel, Baan Waree, a bright, vibrant location wherein every suite has a personality of its own (Ngernyuang commissioned different artists to design each room). Room 502 is reminiscent of the Global Trash Chic ethos, as most of the furniture, the walls and even the light fixtures have been decorated with the same materials used to produce the brand's bags.
|Room 502 in Baan Waree is reminiscent
of the Global Trash Chic recycling ethos.
For those who can't make it to the hotel, there's always Chatuchak Weekend Market. The popular Bangkok marketplace is one of the world's largest weekend markets, hosting more than 15,000 booths, including one owned by Global Trash Chic. After all, it makes sense that a label that's all about quirky design also sells its products at less-than-traditional venues.
Ngernyuang plans on experimenting with new materials and production techniques in the future, using recycled leather jackets, nylon parkas and other second-hand clothing as raw materials. And he's looking to increase his international presence. A large percentage of his products are now being exported to Europe and he recently started dealing with American-based label Urban Outfitters.
Sign up to receive a weekly dispatch from
The Genteel is committed to delivering quality journalism, unearthing the forces shaping international fashion and design, through the lens of business, culture, society, best kept secrets and street style. As multi-dimensional and stimulating as its readers, The Genteel is the inspired destination where informed readers converge with in-depth fashion and design coverage.
A worldwide collective of contributors currently form The Genteel. On a daily basis our team dispatches thought-provoking and insightful articles from the streets of Oslo, Toronto, Beirut, Moscow, United Arab Emirates, Seoul and beyond.