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Bahraini label NS by Noof creates a denim bag from recycled ocean waste

May 17, 2021

Bahraini bag label NS by Noof has announced its latest project: a range of denim bags made from recycled ocean plastic.

Founder Noof Al Shekar says she chose denim for its 'timeless' appeal.

“I have been looking into this matter and how to start a sustainable line for the past two years, but didn’t want to use recycled leather, as it is too expensive and gets damaged quickly,” Al Shekar told The National.

“Then the denim idea came to me, as denim is timeless and could be worn by any woman of any age.”

Each piece is made from post-consumer plastic waste, in the form of bottles scooped from the sea. These are then shredded and made into small pellets.

These pellets are in turn heated and drawn out to create fine threads, which are woven into cloth, in the same way as conventional fabric materials, such as cotton or silk. Once woven, the fabric is certified and receives a Global Recycled Standard seal, as an assurance of authenticity. The resulting cloth is hard-wearing, yet soft, and can be dyed any colour.

The bags range from a roomy tote to a small bag that can be worn at the waist on a belt. Another shoulder-strap version is perfect for wearing during the day.

Al Shekar says the decision to use reclaimed ocean plastic was inspired by one of her children.

“My little son’s dream is to clean the ocean and limit plastic waste on the globe,” she says. “Being a mother of four boys gives you a sense of responsibility to do the right thing and set an example for them.”

Al Shekar has spent the past two years checking samples and prototypes for quality. “I got obsessed with the recycled plastic bottle idea,” she admits.

Since its founding in 2009, NS by Noof has become synonymous with high-end bags that fuse architecture with jewellery.

Each bag is hand-made around a frame of solid brass plate in either 18-karat gold or platinum, built by goldsmiths. Finished in luxe skins, such as lamb, crocodile and snake, the bags come decorated with semi-precious stones.

Against such a background, Al Shekar's pivot to making a recycled plastic bag is even more extraordinary.

However, while the process behind the new bags may be different, the quality is the same. Like the rest of the collection, the new arrivals have the same architectural influence, and the attention to detail is just as rigorous. The oversized chunky chains and handles are all made from organic resin, while the hardware is gold-plated brass.

Almost as a bonus, the new denim arrivals are more accessible than the usual designs. For a signature Zain crocodile bag, with a vintage cameo on the clasp, customers can expect to pay $9,920. The new recycled denim bags, in comparison, will start from $800.

Of her new environmental awareness, Al Shekar is convinced that even a small step can help turn the tide on plastic pollution.

“It all starts from one person, one move and one act. Therefore, I am aiming for a new fashion awareness.”

The new recycled denim bags are available for pre-order only, and are expected to arrive in time for the summer.