Glasgow based Trakke make bags designed with the Scottish winter in mind. “We design kit for Glaswegian winters, because up here, our bags are going to get some abuse” says Trakke founder, Alec Farmer. He has an obsession with streamlining his life. While studying at the university of Glasgow he built and lived in a wooden house for three months. His next personal project saw him strip away all of his worldly possessions so they could fit neatly into two yellow crates.
It seems fitting then that the company he founded in 2010 would start with one sewing machine and an idea: to make bags from anything he could find. “I didn’t really intend it to happen. I had a friend at uni, and we’d talked about [starting a brand].” It was after a friend had discovered a spare space in Barras, a market in the east end of Glasgow, that the idea became a reality.
However, he was broke. So he started scouring the streets looking for things to make bags with. Everything from abandoned sofas to unwanted advertising signs were salvaged – he even took apart old suitcases for buckles and zips. He managed to make 150 bags from the city’s discarded materials. But Alec wanted to take the idea further. So, he went in search of the UK’s finest materials to make his bags with.
“Everything from abandoned sofas to unwanted advertising was salvaged – we even took apart old suitcases for buckles and zips.” The pair managed to make 150 bags hewn from the city’s discarded materials – but in 2012, decided to cast the net across the UK picking from the country’s best manufacturers and mills instead.
“I found waxed cotton in Dundee, stainless steel buckles in Wales, webbing in Derbyshire and zips from the last remaining zip factory in the UK. The list goes on. Sure, I couldn’t find absolutely everything in the UK, but certainly the majority of what I needed.”
Alec continues to make his bags in Glasgow to order, and while his brand has grown and expanded internationally, Trakke is built on Farmer’s personal philosophy that less is most definitely more.
The company continues to make its products in Glasgow, with each bag being made to order. “Our bags aren’t the lightest or the most fully featured – but they are elegant, simple and functional. We only include the features that people truly use, and our kit is built to last.”
What three things do you do everyday as a maker?
1. Be adventurous. 2. Keep in touch with our customers. 3. Build to last.
What material do you most enjoy working with?
British made materials! We source some of the finest British materials to make our bags – Waxed Cotton from Dundee, Harris Tweed from the Outer Hebrides, Webbing from Derbyshire and Stainless steel buckles from Wales!
What was the best piece of advice you were given as a maker?
Be honest. Marketing doesn’t need to be a web of lies. We make beautiful products, using beautiful materials, made by beautiful people. We don’t need to lie. We just tell the story of Trakke, and listen to our customers.
Why do you make the things you do?
It doesn’t matter where you live, or what you live for; Adventure is Everywhere. We want people to get outside and do fun stuff. Whether you’re exploring the city or the wilderness, we make kit you can rely on, rain or shine.