We talked to Christian Kaegi, the co-founder and creative director of Swiss bag label Qwstion. Since its start in 2008 the company has a focus on working with innovative materials. Banana fibers are among them.
Congratulations! You recently won the German Sustainability Award for your Bananatex material bags. What is it all about?
We are constantly looking for new ways to design, manufacture and distribute our products. Material research and development over the years has become a crucial part in this. Receiving the German Sustainability Award for our Bananatex material has been a great honor and a reward for our efforts. Bananatex is a real alternative to the plastic-based materials commonly used; it grows in permaculture without the use of pesticides or additional water and is fully biodegradable. As we are sourcing the fibers from small, family run farms, we contribute to the wealth of these communities. Our (timeless) designs are highly influenced by these material developments–for instance we’ve developed zero-waste patterns for our new collections. We have developed Bananatex as an “open source” material, available to any company willing to reduce its footprint and we will see some major releases from other brands using our material next year.
Christian Kaegi, co-founder, Qwstion, at the Bananatex facilities on the Philippines
What is more important to your customers–the look or buying a sustainable product?
At Qwstion, we question norms to find better solutions for both humans and nature–and think our customers do the same. We believe sustainable products should look good, too. But generally the relevance of sustainability as factor behind the decision to buy a product has definitely grown.
Do fashion trends influence your styles?
Our designs combine functionality with our responsibility towards the planet and humans–starting with the source of the materials we use. The minimalist and timeless design is very important to us, in order to create long lasting products. We try not be influenced by fashion trends at all. We want our bags to transcend trends and to be part of a lasting wardrobe choice.
Qwstion bags made of Bananatex
Material, fabrication, packaging, shipping–in which areas are you trying to work sustainably?
All the mentioned areas are connected, and we are working on improvements in all of them, step by step. Due to our background and expertise as creatives, the field of shipping is probably our biggest challenge as we are highly dependent on the current situation in the market. Our current economic system is creating unsustainable incentives in this field, which are hard to change. Nevertheless, circular economy thinking is gaining momentum and we are sure that we can all have a positive impact on the future.