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Second hand sail: Mamukko give yachts a second life

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Jesse Dodd

30 October 2016

For award-winning Irish upcycling brand Mamukko, ‘bags for life’ are a way of life. Since 2011 Hungarian brothers Attila and Levi Magyar have made small, unique runs of bags from recycled leather and salvaged sails. 

This winter they are using sailcloth from the Hugo Boss IMOCA 60 yacht used and raced by Alex Thomson (the fastest British sailor to sail round the world single handedly) to create a limited edition run of laptop bags, tablet bags and totes.

“The history of the Hugo Boss sails will add real character to these new bags,” says Attila Magyar, co-founder of Mamukko. “Sailing is about performance, endurance and dynamism and that will be reflected in our new designs.”

Mamukko has become known for its bespoke collaborations with unusual material from the sailing and boating community. In 2014 the brand created a collection from life-raft material salvaged from the Astrid, a tall-ship that ran aground just up the coast from where Mamukko are based, in the harbour town of Kinsale, Cork (don’t worry everyone was rescued).

“We are pioneers in life-raft upcycling,” says Magyar. “Life-rafts are made from natural rubber fabric. It is high performance, flexible, extremely durable and waterproof."

Based in Kinsale Mamukko turn sailcloth into bags
“We use old fashioned tools and template-making skills to make modern bags just as a songwriter who uses a 100-year-old piano to write and perform a modern song”

The brothers come from a family of leatherworkers and they have applied these traditional skills to a more ethical business model that creates bags,wallets and hats that reflect their Irish home and their passion for sustainability.

“We use old fashioned tools and template-making skills to make modern bags just as a songwriter who uses a 100-year-old piano to write and perform a modern song” explains Magyar. “The skills that we learned from our father are rooted and inherited from Transylvanian–Saxon leather masters and we would love to pass them onto our children."

While the brand is seeing an increase in socially conscious consumers it has to balance demand with a handmade process that relies on salvaged materials.

“Our customers are amazed that the Mamukko products are made here in Kinsale by us. In this world of mass production limited edition handmade products have a real value and people are starting to really appreciate it,” says Magyar. “But it’s hard to compete on the international market with a product that can not be mass produced and is handmade in Ireland by us from upcycled fabrics.”

However with some sell-out collaborations behind them and a new Hugo Boss collection out this winter, Mamukko has found the right tack that could see them sail off into the sunset, sustainable bags in hand.