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Looptworks' repurposed bags made from Langlitz Leathers sure to get your motor running



COURTESY OF LOOPTWORKS - Looptworks new Classic Duffel Bag is made from leather that didnt meet the demanding specs of Langlitz Leathers, Portlands famous outfitter of motorcycle riders. Edgy good looks, timeless style, decades of durability. Plus, it helps save the planet.

It’s a lot to ask of a bag.

But the Loopt Classics collection of high-end leather bags and accessories delivers.

Launched this fall, the collection is a collaboration between two Portland companies — Looptworks and Langlitz Leathers — one dedicated to reusing or upcycling Earth-friendly products, the other a legendary maker of leather garments for motorcycle enthusiasts. 

It’s their first joint collection and includes a duffel bag, tote, clutch, cross-body purse, messenger bag, passport wallet and bifold wallet.

Looptworks made a name for itself the past six years as an innovative upcycler, by transforming excess or rescued materials — from fine Italian leather to neoprene — into new products that conserve resources. A few years ago, when Southwest Airlines switched its seats for lighter-weight material, Looptworks upcycled 40 acres of blue and tan leather into eye-catching totes, duffle bags and backpacks.  

It produces electronics covers, accessories and apparel, the bulk of it sold online, but also through retailers such as college bookstores and Patagonia. 

Clients are drawn to the environmental and social ethos of the company, which repurposes material that otherwise would be incinerated or dumped in a landfill, while employing a manufacturing process that preserves natural resources and reduces greenhouse gas emissions.

COURTESY OF LOOPTWORKS - Ross Langlitz founded Langlitz Leathers in 1947 when he couldnt find suitable leather motorcycling jackets on the market. “We are supplying meaning to products people need and use, while reducing waste, extending the life of materials, saving water and lowering carbon emissions,” says co-founder and CEO Scott Hamlin.

Langlitz Leathers is a family-owned business dating back to 1947. That’s when Ross Langlitz, dismayed by the lack of quality riding gear available, designed and created his own motorcycle jacket. Riding buddies took notice, ordered their own jackets, and the custom-made leathers business took off.

Today, granddaughter Judy Langlitz Wright serves as president of the company, known worldwide for clothing rock stars as well as protecting the hides of motorcycle riders.

“We are pretty darn picky about what we put into our garments,” says John Weber, Langlitz production manager. Even the slightest blemish can disqualify otherwise flawless leather from becoming a jacket or larger garment. “We need to keep the grain consistent, so some defects mean we can’t use the hide,” Langlitz Wright says. 

Langlitz uses some scraps to create wallets and other small accessories, but most excess material was downcycled, or repurposed into a less valuable use or product. Knife manufacturers used Langlitz scraps to demonstrate blade sharpness. Some scraps even became punching-bag filler.

COURTESY OF LOOPTWORKS - A pile of Langlitz leather marked for reuse by Looptworks.Meanwhile, seconds — the larger hides that Langlitz couldn’t use for jackets or bigger garments due to a minor flaw — sat collecting dust. 

Enter Looptworks.

“Fifteen to 30 percent of materials created get thrown away without being used,” Hamlin says. Cutting-room scraps are just one example. “Most companies think it’s cheaper and easier to throw it away than to do something with it. Unfortunately, they don’t take the waste of water and creation of carbon it took to make those materials into consideration.”

Each item Looptworks creates includes a breakdown of the water conserved and carbon dioxide emissions avoided.

Cut creatively, a blemished hide becomes a stylish duffel bag or tote. Smaller pieces turn into a clutch, wallet or cross-body purse.

Thanks to Langlitz’s exacting standards, the top-notch cowhide imparts each bag and wallet with a rock-and-roll, yet luxe, look and feel. “This leather is just going to get better and better and better over time,” Hamlin says. 

Find out more

Pieces from the new collection are available at looptworks.com. All bags and accessories are handcrafted in Portland.

A second collection of different products made from Langlitz leather is set to launch in 2016. 

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