Materials

Athens, painting by Daniel Rich. Used with permission. Copyright Daniel Rich.
Daniel Rich, Athens, 2017
question

What is an awning?

Awnings are the waterproof fabrics protecting balconies and shopfronts. They are ubiquitous in Athens, it’s part of the culture. It’s a way of life, balcony life. Watering the plants and alfresco dinners, the gossip and the arguments, all take place under awnings.

These fabrics are sturdy, waterproof, and abundant. Nowadays they are made out of polyester, cotton was phased out years ago. Unwanted fabrics should go for recycling but, sadly, the leftovers go to a landfill, and here is where we come in.

What we do

We visit local awning-installing businesses and offer to buy their leftover fabrics. So far we have reclaimed and processed more than two tonnes of leftover fabrics.

It’s a drop in the ocean. Every year hundreds of tonnes of leftover, offcuts, and unwanted brand new awning fabrics end up in a landfill in Greece. And we’re not even talking about the old awnings that get taken down from a balcony. They are mostly untraceable and their volume is difficult to assess.

Our target

We already have a network of local tradespeople we work with. Collecting leftover fabrics is not as easy as it sounds but our network is growing. With recognition comes access.

Our target is to collect everything and make sure no more polyester fabrics go to a landfill.

But beyond that, we are working towards a future where no waste materials at all are thrown away just. A circular economy is our dream and we’re doing our very best to achieve it!

Never in the bin!

We have processed around 2 tons of leftover awning fabrics already. We also use balcony shutter straps and old car seat belts.  Do you have a secret stash of awning fabrics, old seat belts or even an old awning? Do you know someone that does? Don’t throw it in the bin!

Sustainable Materials

What about the rest?

We strive to use only sustainable materials. There’s so much more than awning fabrics. Zips, rivets, buttons, straps. For most, there are no fully sustainable options yet but we follow recent innovations closely.

We use leather only for straps in some of our models. Leather has some amazing properties that are difficult to replicate. Its strength, longevity, and reliability are second to none. 

What we do

Our threads are 100% cotton, Greek spun and made. Our zips are YKK, the best quality possible, but not yet from recycled materials. We use no plastic parts and rivets and go out of our way to get the best metal alternatives in the market.

We use straps on most of our products and they are the ones used on balcony shutters. They are cotton-based with some polyester. Collecting used straps was our number one priority but it is proving to be very difficult.

The leather we use is locally sourced and the least processed one possible. No chemical dying at all. The latest news is that we’ve started experimenting with used and discarded seat belts.

Our target

Our target is to be leather-free, polyester-free and use only sustainable materials in the near future. We are modifying our existing models and are always on the lookout for new solutions.  We are trying new and old materials and have already adopted some. For example, cork is a very good alternative and our Sophia S is being made without leather since 2019.

Nowadays, our design approach is leather-free first. All our new models since 2018 are being designed to be vegan first, if not exclusively.

We are in the process of using hemp for all our straps, which has a minimal environmental footprint. We have experimented with some new leather substitutes, made from pineapple, mushrooms, or other plants. They are promising but not there yet. Things change all the time though, we’re getting there.

We strive to use only sustainable materials. We upcycle leftover fabrics from the awning industry and have processed more than two tons already.