Upcycling Collaboration: Pedla X A-ESQUE

Handmade Cycling Bags Made With Upcycled Cycling Clothing

Established by Amanda Rettig in 2012, A-ESQUE is a boutique leather handbag producer with a difference–all their products are made in their own Richmond Atelier.  

Conscious that any party in the fashion industry is inherently an unsustainable actor, A-ESQUE don’t make unsubstantiated claims on being a sustainable brand. Instead, they focus their efforts on reducing and mitigating their social and environmental footprint as much as possible.

a stack of leather and tools on a bench at a-esque's studio

Designed to the environment they exist in, and in-house manufacturing means they can also adopt practices that reduce waste and surplus product. A-ESQUE subscribe to a lean production model.

Both based in Melbourne, Australia (A-ESQUE based in Richmond, Pedla based in Collingwood) and with a shared focus on people, place and product meant when A-ESQUE approached Pedla to repurpose some of our old archive product into something useful, it was a no-brainer.

transforming a cycling gilet into a bag

Using Pedla Cycling Gilets as a base, A-ESQUE got to work looking at how you can transform high performance cycling kit into a stylish and functional bag. Pedla has always been grounded in process and the artistic approach and are known for their artistic cycling jerseys. Our prints have become a hallmark of our kit, with eye catching patterns and colours across our cycling jerseys, cycling jackets and cycling gilets.

We joined A-ESQUE in their Studio & Atelier in the lead up to launch to see their approach to up-cycling . Hand cut and custom matched handles were selected from off cuts of current and past seasons stored in the A-ESQUE surplus archive for re use. The off cut leather was then matched individually to the vests, hand cut, then hand turned and stitched all before being applied to pre determined shoulder panels that had been decided based on a placement pattern to ensure the functionality of the bag. The upcycling process involved the transformation of the vest to ensure arm holes and access points were tucked and stitched, the front body zip closed with a matching tab and testing of stitch strength to ensure the outcome is a functional tote. Each piece was repurposed, one at a time, transformed to a bag with care and precision. On reflection it’s clear that up-cycling is a custom process that increases the value of original products by way of the customisation and human touch required for transformation. In the case of this project A-ESQUE adopted a functional and fashion lens to produce a limited edition series of totes/shoppers from Pedla surplus.

archive cycling gilets to be transformed into bags

Stitching a cycling gilet into a bag