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Western Hydrodynamic Research Recycles Boat Sails Into Tote Bags

Western Hydrodynamic Research (WHR) is a California-based project founded by Pat Towersey and fueled by a desire to merge surfing, functionality and environmental responsibility. Getting his start at Nike/Hurley, Towersey founded WHR seven years ago, starting with designing surfboards. He then moved to creating hats, which he sent to Tom Sachs, a prominent artist-designer and friend. The promotion saw great success, leading to his stock selling out in short timing.

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WHR

Opposed to traditional surf brands, Towersey relies on a more educational approach to advertise and sell his products. According to him, the brand’s success can be attributed to “building culture, connecting people, and having fun.” Such beliefs are expressed in WHR’s merchandise, which revolves around endearing marine life graphics and simple, solid construction. Much of the time, the brand upcycles or repurposes vintage items to promote waste minimization and circularity.

Back on July 15, WHR released a new line of Boat Bags, based on the classic LL Bean Boat and Tote. Each of the one-of-one bags were designed by Susan Hoff, embroidered by Chris Barton, and handcrafted by Mafia Bags. Mafia Bags is a beach-focused accessory brand that centers its philosophy around utility and low-impact, a perfect match for WHR. 

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WHR

The collaboration is made from used sails and waxed canvas, which incorporates an aspect of recycling and sustainability into the piece. Following up on their previous work, WHR and Mafia Bags are teaming up again for another drop, which was announced this past week. As shown on Instagram, the bags will have a similar cream-colored base with an option of blue or tan linings, but not much is known of the release besides that.

A set date has yet to be declared, but Towersey stated that it would be in the next of couple weeks. When they do release, it will be on WHR’s website along with other products that are currently available, which includes a very limited supply of July’s Boat Bag release (only one is left at the time of publishing this story). 

In similar news, longstanding bag-maker Fjällräven updated its iconic bag with a newly developed bio-based fabric.