Brothers Attila (l) and Levente Magyar of Mamukko, upcycling the sails of sunken tall ship Astrid into designer bags
In these recessionary times, the idea of upcycling is something that has universal appeal. Attila and Levente Magyar, fourth-generation craft-workers from Hungary, turned to the idea when they were out of work two years ago.
They set about making handcrafted bags from sailcloth, PVC tarpaulin and other materials and have gone on to build a successful business, winning a start-up award. “The business is growing dynamically,” says Attila. “Upcycling is a nicely ripening fruit — and it’s sweet.”
That kind of transformation is at the heart of a new upcycling movement that has inspired a range of Irish businesses to make money by refashioning old, unwanted things into new and improved products.
There’s Tom Smith the roofer/crafter from Carlow who turns old scaffolding into furniture (www.slatycraft.com); metal workers The Liffey Forge, which make wine racks, umbrella stands and hanging baskets from old horseshoes (www.liffeyforge.com); Belfast Rain (www.therainskirt.com), the company that turns discarded musical-festival tents into designer skirts that start at €50.