Latin America

Handbags made in Brazil from seatbelts win ‘Oscar’

Two friends have won an award for making bags from old seatbelts – using the proceeds to feed homeless people.

The Leka tote was created by Charlotte Bingham-Wallis, 29, and Maria Costa, 29, who first met while at Sudbury Upper School, Suffolk.

It has won the Best Green Bag of 2019 category at the Independent Handbag Designer Awards in New York.

The tote was created from 10 metres of refurbished seatbelts, eight plastic bottles and scraps of old fabric.

"Our winning bag is a symbol of how waste can be rejuvenated into new products," said Ms Bingham-Wallis, From Belo's director designer who also works part-time as a physiotherapist at Ipswich Hospital.

She set up From Belo – a crowd-funded start-up – with her friend Maria Costa in January 2018.

They manufacture the accessories in Brazil, where Costa now lives.

"We are just school friends inspired by working in poverty-stricken areas that wanted to find a way to elevate a poor community," said Ms Bingham-Wallis.

A percentage of the firm's profits go to a charity located in Belo Horizonte, which From Belo said helps feed about 250 people a day,

"This is the same city where our team of artisans are based who create our products," said Ms Bingham-Wallis.

Women make up 82% of its co-operative workforce and are paid a Read More – Source