I Discovered Truce Designs exhibiting their ultra-functional bags at the New Amsterdam Bike Show in 2011 and 2012. The simplicity, functionality and subtle colors of all the bags and presentation caught my attention. But by 2012 the line had developed even further to be truly striking ~ even in the over saturated sport bag market. I began speaking with design/manufacturer Luke Mathers and discovered the company uses recycled technical materials, manufactures locally in Portland and has an impressive history of technical craftsmanship.
Technical products are almost never environmentally responsible – so it’s extremely exciting to see a line of great high performance bags that are best in category and pushing the envelope of what being green can be. Luke has an active history surfing, biking, hiking and the bags reflect that with an elegant multi-functionality that I look for.
How did you begin working with recycled technical materials?
Iʼve had a lot of help in design, sewing and materials sourcing over the relatively few years Iʼve been working. The people who taught me how to sew at North Sails Oregon and North Sails Seattle, the pattern makers and sewers at Michael Curry Design, and deﬁnitely alpine-pack masters Cilogear are the people whoʼve helped me out the most.
Last year we ﬁnished a bike-building collaboration project with Portland-based bike and component builder Chris King. We came in third place in a bike building competition
called the Oregon Manifest. Iʼm always looking for new materials from the sailing world, Iʼm hoping to get some newer high-performance racing sails at some point. Iʼd love to do more things like sailing team bags and ﬁnding more, bigger used racing sails to recycle. Weʼre also working on getting some more products online… like dufﬂe bags, grocery bags, and updated versions of others.
The pictures of the shop look amazing. Can you tell me more about it?
There’s a picture of me using our ‘new’ hot-air seam sealing machine. It’s what they use to make diving suits, submersible bags etc… It’s my favorite, it expands our capabilities by a huge amount. The machine has really changed the whole way things go together! I’ve experimented with some outerwear as well, making my own sailing bibs and stuff like that…
Many of Truce Designs bags are made with re-claimed materials like old sails and drysuit material. Has an eco-friendly approach been beneﬁcial for your company or posed some challenges?
Both. I really believe in using good materials that would otherwise be discarded, and itʼs a way to differentiate myself from competitors. It does make things more difﬁcult though… the sailcloth can be dirty, and the drysuit fabric comes in all different shapes and sizes which makes cutting more time-consuming.