Why seatbelts are the perfect ingredient to a Belo Bag.
Waste and poverty are intrinsically linked, with over 90% of waste being openly
dumped or burnt in Brazil – which affects directly the health of local ecosystems and communities.
So many materials are designed to last a lifetime, yet are often made into products with a shorter or even a single lifespan. A great example of this is seat
belts. In Brazil, their use within cars has a 10-year expiry date. Hence the amount of decommissioned seat belts that get thrown away daily is shocking. Seatbelts are strong, durable, water resistant, easy to clean, comfortable to wear and glossy as can be. Which makes them perfect to be re-imagined via thoughtful design into versatile fashion accessories, that can be passed down generations.
Our mission is to disrupt and change the perception of beauty and waste in the fashion industry. We want our actions to inspire the next generation to follow.
What happens to seat belts if they don't get upcycled?
They can take up to 400 years to decompose which is why the majority are sent to landfill or burnt, releasing harmful micro-plastics into the atmosphere in the process.
How do we source seat belts?
We have built partnerships with local mechanics in Belo Horizonte, Brazil and
collect them weekly. This might sound odd but it wasn't easy in the beginning to gain their trust. Even though it didn't serve them any purpose, they were not willing to work with us. They questioned our motives at first but after they have seen what we have built with them, they get so motivated and happy to be part of the BELO team.
Money isn’t our only currency to trade seat belts for, we also provide English
lessons for the children of the workers in exchange for seatbelts. Learning
English in Brazil is so important for a successful future and it is another way that we can make a difference in our community.
Flavia refurbishing seatbelts into straps, Belo Horizonte, Brazil.
Once collected, the seatbelts are cleansed using water and natural detergents
such as coconut soap before being air-dried. We only use the original colour of
the seatbelts that have simply been nourished back to vibrancy - in other words, they are good as new!
BELO designs to emulate nature, inspired by the beauty of ecosystems. By
using materials such as decommissioned seat belts, we are mitigating the
waste that exists now, giving them a new purpose. After all, real beauty should never go to waste. To find our more about our impact goals, click here or about our other materials click here.