I used to be a plastic bag…
Every innovative idea begins with an equally passionate innovator. Imagine a design process that begins with sifting through waste sites in search of discarded plastic bags. Sound glamourous? This is what visionaries and co-founders Hend Riad and Mariam Hazem did when they formed their Egyptian based company, Reform Studio, and developed their award-winning textile, Plastex. In Egypt plastic bags are a part of everyday life and an integral part of transporting goods. It is estimated that the average life-cycle of a plastic bag in Egypt, before it is thrown away, is 12 minutes. Multiply that by 98 million people 365 days per year and you get a never-ending supply of trash or, as Hend and Mariam see it, of raw materials. At first glance of their products (upholstery, rugs, placemats, and cushions), you see a colorful, beautiful and textural collection. Once you understand the fabrication process, you can’t help but touch, feel and connect with each piece. This is the epitome of DESIGN doing GOOD. Layer atop this upcycled creation is the courage and passion of female entrepreneurs in a male dominated culture, making their name, REFORM, take on an even bigger meaning. At CUR8 we applaud, support and stand up with our collaborative partners, REFORM STUDIO, and hope that their story and their products will permeate both the hearts and the homes of every consumer.
Swaziland is a small, landlocked country in southern Africa with just over 1 million people, 79% of whom live in rural areas and 37% of whom are unemployed. Sadly, most residents endure not only the hardships of poverty but some of the highest rates of disease and sexual violence in the world. In response to local circumstances, Quazi Design is on a mission to employ and empower Swazi women through sustainable design. From a sustainability perspective, one hundred percent of Quazi products are made with recycled magazine and newspaper waste, reducing landfill while providing innovative and inexpensive resources for their artisans. These hand-crafted products are made solely by local women whom Quazi empowers through skill sharing and living wages. Most of these women were previously unemployed and each has as many as 7 dependents, a common situation for women in Swaziland. With the support of Quazi Design, these artisans can not only better support themselves and their families, but they feel the security of employment and the pride of accomplishment. Quazi Design aims to change the perception of recycled materials while at the same time positively impacting their community. CUR8 celebrates the wisdom and passion of companies like Quazi Design and is honored to share their incredible story.