Feb 14, 2022
by Fiona McVitie
Introducing GROUNDTRUTH: High-performance, Recycled Bags for a New Era of Global Travel
by Fiona McVitie
Feb 14, 2022

GROUNDTRUTH was founded in 2017 by three sisters, Georgia, Nina and Sophia Scott, who recognized the need for multipurpose, reliable and technical bags and accessories that are created with people, planet and performance in mind. As consumers demand more eco-friendly materials and sustainable practices, the luggage industry must move away from the polluting process of leather tanning, animal exploitation and oil-derived virgin plastics. GROUNDTRUTH is paving the way by bridging the versatility of bags that will perform in all environments, while utilizing innovative, sustainable materials.

We had the pleasure of speaking with the founders, who shared more about the brand, the GROUNDTRUTH vision for the future, and some exciting new ranges that will be released this year.

Tell us more about GROUNDTRUTH, when was the idea born?

GROUNDTRUTH was born in the field where Georgia and Sophia spent over a decade making documentary films. From one day to the next, our surroundings would change, from filming in the jungles of Sierra Leone to meetings in swanky tower blocks in New York. We saw a need for a hybrid product that could travel with us no matter what the journey was.

Having documented in our films the hardships of people living in refugee camps, whose lives had been ripped apart by war, and with the knowledge that the amount of people fleeing climate change will surpass the amount of people fleeing war, we felt compelled to become actively involved in creating solutions for climate change. Knowing that the fashion industry was the second most polluting industry in the world, and seeing the lack of designs that could fit our lifestyles, we founded GROUNDTRUTH.

During the years of filmmaking we also became witness to the ever growing plastic pollution crisis. Bringing on board our third sister, Nina, who was then working in the artisan textile industry, we started the process of building the foundations of a company that was created with purpose and built for performance.

Let’s talk about the luggage industry more generally. What are the key problems you see within the industry, specifically in relation to sustainability?

Within the world of fast-fashion there is a huge disregard for the rights of the workers as well as our planet. Low quality products produced in high volumes and made cheaply contribute massively to slave labour and environmental pollution. There seems to be little to no accountability – the lack of transparency is the real issue within the fast fashion industry.

The current consumption model is changing. Customers want to know the sustainability and origins behind the products they buy and want to associate with brands that align with their values. This change in behavior is fueling an emerging hybrid gap in the market – one bag that fits all journeys. Durable enough for the great outdoors yet refined enough for the demands of city life.

GROUNDTRUTH bags are made from innovative materials that challenge the status quo. What challenges have you faced in developing novel, sustainable materials?

It’s an expensive and lengthy process – researching, developing and testing out new sustainable materials using ingredients that have not been tried and tested before is definitely a challenge. Back when GROUNDTRUTH was founded in 2017, we couldn’t find a recycled PET textile that would stand up to the challenges we required. So we embarked on a journey of creating our own with our partners in Taiwan. Our GT-RK-001, made from 100% rPET, is super durable and is constructed with a 600 denier ballistic yarn structure combined with a triangular ripstop weave for premium strength.

Each material has been chosen for its quality and performance, ensuring that our products are as refined and resilient as much as they are sustainable. We are constantly exploring new technologies and materials to incorporate into our range, so we remain at the forefront of green innovation.

Ethical production was clearly a priority for you from the beginning. What are some of the challenges and benefits you’ve experienced in collaborating with a family-owned factory?

One of the first things we did when setting up GROUNDTRUTH was a road trip across China, Vietnam and Indonesia to gain an understanding of the manufacturing world. We were extremely disheartened by the conditions in which the workers both lived and worked. It was only the very last manufacturer that we visited in Jakarta where we found a partner that shared many of our principles.

The whole atmosphere in the factory is positive. Our development room is female led and very knowledgeable about design. It is a great environment to be in and we make a great team. I also think that as three sisters, we were drawn to a smaller, family run factory. We have managed to achieve a fully transparent relationship with them. It’s also a place we now call our second home.

GROUNDTRUTH has some exciting new projects in 2022. Can you tell us more about these?

We are launching the world’s first captured CO2-embedded range of bags this Spring. Our exclusive partnership with OCO, enables each new GROUNDTRUTH product to be a carbon sink, demonstrating that the direct utilization of CO2 emissions in end products is possible.

We’ve partnered with The B.I.G North Pole 2022 Sea Ice Research Expedition and have developed a bespoke sledge cover as part of the project, along with other bags from our range being used by the team. The opportunity to demonstrate that our textiles can survive conditions such as the North Pole is a form of trust building, and shows that recycled materials can be used throughout the industry.

Sophia was in Iceland in December filming the B.I.G North team practicing for the upcoming expedition. To think that this might be one of the last times that an expedition could ski to the North Pole due to the melting of the ice is truly shocking. We hope that by collaborating with the likes of the B.I.G North we will inspire and push boundaries, to cross pollinate between different sectors and to help shift perspectives to a solution based focus.

We also have collaborated with British explorer Ed Stafford this year. He is heading to the Amazon rainforest this Spring, where he will be field testing the final prototype of our 80L Hybrid Duffle, also made from our captured CO2 innovations. While on location filming in such climates, Ed needs a sturdy all round bag. We have specially designed this duffle for ease of travel, with integrated packing compartments, easy access points and a watertight pouch for dirty boots or wet clothes. You can wear it on your shoulder as a duffle or transform the product into a comfy backpack. We are even using a zero dye interior lining made from fishing nets.

Sounds like 2022 will be a great year for GROUNDTRUTH. Let’s finish with a question about the ultimate goal for the brand. If you could achieve one change within the luggage industry, what would it be?

We want to change the course of the fashion and manufacturing industries from within and ultimately build a lifestyle brand which is a hub for research, design and innovation. We aspire to encourage everyone to explore and protect the wonders of our world while striving for the highest levels of performance. The power of change lies in the hands of consumers – we are here to offer an alternative to the world of fashion where ethical and sustainable principles are often ignored.