It’s a long, winding and dusty road from a truck to a bag. It requires focus, all kinds of adjustments and some improvisation. And, most of all, a robust will to reach the finish line and remain on the side of the road you believe to be the right one.
Product design begins with combining waste materials that we already have and looking for new ways of combining household and industrial waste. To do so, we use handicrafts and contemporary methods and take up any tools that come within reach. To achieve the best possible results, we use the prototypes ourselves – until the bitter end, when all they bring us is embarrassment and bad publicity.
Trash is complicated. Those types that we consider worthless are always ubiquitous, while those that we see as potential new materials or products can be hard to find. In order to accumulate enough, we have to be organized and go on searches, issue public calls for trash, then transport it, sort it, clean it, hoard it in our warehouse and finally transform it into the real thing that the Smetumet products are made of. 

Our collection of bags and other stuff is made out of tarp that used to cover trucks, from trimmed pieces that were too small for trucks, from tarps with printing errors or those that were used to publicize a past event. The hardy straps are made out of car safety belts that ended at the dump or from discarded belts. The trim is made out of conference ribbons brought to us by journalists and other attendees of such events, and the bags are closed using old suspenders that we get from the closets of our dads and grandfathers. The zippers are from grandma’s old sewing supplies or from industrial waste, etc.
We enjoy playing and trying different shapes, materials and techniques. But the greatest thing is when you find the right combination and the right size that allow the product to be multi-purpose, durable and editorial. This is followed by a meditative experience: creating the whole series after the model while focusing on optimal use of material and unique combinations of colours and shapes that resonate with us on that particular day. There are no final patterns or plans – eventually we always arrive at an even better, upgraded variation.

However, we’re not doing this alone. We’re helped by those who provide us with waste materials, by users who give feedback and by our loved ones. In the production phase, we involve the industrious hands of local craftsmen and occasional helpers as well as the employees of a sheltered workshop. As we’re a non-profit organization, all profits from our products are funnelled towards independent projects of the Smetumet association, whose main mission is to raise ecological and cultural awareness and serve public interest.

This truck is full of unique products and the seat next to the driver’s is free. Choose your favourite item and hop on.