Swiss brand FREITAG’s bags made from used truck tarpaulins are cult. Each piece is a statement on sustainability – and unique. We took individualisation in design one step further with the F-Cut web app: customers design their bags themselves. Virtually. And then the unique creation arrives in real life.
FREITAG has been making bags and accessories from recycled truck tarpaulins for 30 years. The sustainable lifestyle products are unique in terms of the idea and the way they are made. When people are looking for a personal favourite, they often ask whether one or the other model might not be available in a slightly different design variant.
This is how the individualisation of bag design came about: the concept of placing the creative core process – the selection of canvas cut-outs – in the hands of interested customers. This is done in the Sweat Yourself shops at FREITAG’s place of origin in Zurich, in Bangkok and Kyoto, and online via the interactive web app F-Cut.
Already 20 years ago, DEPT® Technical Director Severin Klaus developed a first digital cutting table for FREITAG bags based on the multimedia platform Flash: the first edition of F-Cut. F-Cut worked, caused a sensation, won awards – and disappeared with the end of Flash. The current next-level version consistently continues the concept of the original. In the typical reduced FREITAG style and with state-of-the-art technology.
When dozens of users are simultaneously assembling their bag at the online cutting table, using virtual templates to assemble their bag from 50 digitised tarpaulins, when new tarpaulins – perfectly photographed and with zones excluded for use – are activated to ensure a wide variety of graphic elements, when the dynamically used and managed configurator is always in a unique state for virtually every user, when the resulting designs can be viewed in real time as interactive 3D visualisations until the design is final and, after checkout, automatically sent to the FREITAG production department where the selected sections are automatically cut out of the real tarpaulins and assembled into the finished product, then vast numbers of complex interrelated processes run simultaneously under the simple user interface of F-Cut.
F-Cut is a modern web application based on the MACH principle: Microservices, API-first, Cloud-native, Headless. MACH integrates individual technologies in such a way that they add up to the best solutions. With F-Cut, performance, flexibility and scalability result from the interaction of independent modules for areas such as frontend and administration, an agile framework for programming controlled via API interfaces, applications specially developed for the cloud and a headless CMS selected for the maintenance and playout of specific content.
Users benefit from an intuitive operation that feels smooth and guides them playfully through the entire design process, but does not leave out users who are dependent on keyboard operation. Those who are not quite sure here or there on the way to their unique piece receive help from the retro-pixelated F-Worker.
In 2022, at the revival of F-Cut, the range was limited to the Messenger Bag F712 DRAGNET, a FREITAG classic that is now only available through F-Cut. From the start in May until the end of the year, individualists have cut well over a thousand unique pieces from digitised tarpaulins.
In March 2023, the asymmetrical hip bag F713 KNIGHT RIDER was added, another classic bag model that is no longer available anywhere else – and was already designed, ordered and delivered home 600 times in the first three weeks. More products will follow, perhaps hard-wearing iPhone cases or notebooks. To be designed in a highly personal and unique look.
F-Cut fascinates enthusiasts from the very beginning and new fans around the globe. The online tool is currently particularly well received in Japan, Germany and Switzerland. FREITAG and DEPT® are developing the project prudently, in small steps – for the sake of limited exclusivity, genuine innovation and long-term sustainability. F-Cut encourages people to become active, sensitises them to material cycles and makes it possible to experience in concrete terms what it is all about: shaping the future. Together.
It was a great stroke of luck that twice in my career I had the chance to develop the incredibly multi-layered, challenging and meaningful F-Cut project.
Severin Klaus, Tech Director, DEPT®
Head of Consulting & Project Management