18m - Held every Saturday, Souk El Tayeb is an open air farmers markert where it...
Vea Wear's Fashionably Responsible & Hand-Manufactured Bags and Accessories
VEA Wear is a fashion statement with a twist and a green philosophy. The key materials used to craft the impeccably finished bags and accessories are the inner tubes of the tyres of bicycles, motorbikes, cars, or trucks. These are sourced from car and bicycle mechanics all over Beirut and also in collaboration with Dutch tyre manufacturer Vredestein.
While in Saudi Arabia where he was working as a mechanical engineer, Patrick El Zoghbi submitted a proposal to the USAID PACE programme, and won. “The competition was aimed at helping and promoting NGOs and social organisations setting up social and environmental projects. Through this, I got seed funding, which kick-started me, I quit my job and started working on Vea Wear in early 2014”, Patrick, co-founder and general manager, explains.
After months of preparations, testing, and feasibility studies, the brand was officially launched, including a range designed for Paula Yacoubian in late 2014.
Vea Wear – the name derived from the Latin word for rubber tree hevea – not only recycles tyres that otherwise would end up on landfills – or burnt – but turns them into desirable fashion items: style that never goes flat! Each creation has a small number embossed that reveals how many grams’ worth of tyre were saved.
The range of bags includes small sling bags, ideal to wear on festivals, when travelling or walking around, as well as toiletry bags, a ping pong bag, laptop bags, carrier bags, tote bags and The Sportier. The inside of the bags is lined with sturdy upholstery fabric and where fitting, the bags also feature re-used safety belts.
“Working with tyres and working with leather is very different,” Patrick underlines. “It takes time and creativity to look at this weirdly shaped tyre and to match it with the pieces needed for a bag or a wallet.” Once the right fit is made, the tyre needs to be washed before getting assembled and sewn together by hand.
Since inception, Vea Wear has worked with emerging designers, allowing them to gain new skills and visibility. This approach reflects the social business model that the company embraces. Besides Joyce Saade and Gita Abi Hanna, Vea Wear has also worked with Raya Andraos who works with recycled bottle caps and has included bits of tyres in this specific Vea range and with Wissam Hanna who is providing a new range of interior items. Vea Wear also makes coasters, plant holders, key rings, belts and a range of striking jewellery.
The Vea Wear store at the Beirut Souks displays not only its own range of fashionably responsible creations but also blends it with lights designed by the Pipe Brothers and Tablieh’s palette furniture designs, notably a 2-seater coach, complemented with Vea Wear cushions.