Can 3D printing make fashion sustainable? This plastic handbag is made with minimal waste, and is repairable

Rather aptly dubbed the “Reusable Bag”, this 3D-printed handbag from Malinko Design flips fashion on its head and tries to make one of the most wasteful industries a little more eco-conscious. Unlike conventional handbags made from leather or PU vegan leather, the Reusable Bag makes an odd (but justifiable) choice of being 3D printed from nylon. The reason? Well, Nylon is much more resistant to wear and tear… and if it incurs any damage, it can easily be fixed with a little 3D printing or heat! However, what’s most noteworthy about the bag is its design. It comes with a vibrant blue main body, and an orange chainlink strap that is sure to grab the attention of anyone who even glances in its general direction!

Designer: Malinko Design

For something made out of plastic, the Reusable Bag sure has an unusual design. It incorporates a variety of styles, including edgy paneling on the base, perforated strips, and a faux feather/scale design on the top. The sides of the bag have two eyelets modeled in, which allow you to attach the orange chain strap to it using the carabiner clips on each end. Relying on 3D printing allowed Malinko Design to explore more industrial details rather than relying on something too ‘fashion template-ish’.

The rigidity of the plastic bag does present one small problem – the bag’s opening. Most fabric or leather bags come with a flap, or with a zipper that lets you open and access the bag’s belongings. Having a bag that’s also flexible helps you rummage through it… something you can’t do with the Reusable Bag. The Reusable Bag, however, does come with a hinged, rigid flap on the top that opens the way a spectacle case would. The insides of the bag don’t expand when you put stuff in, as a flexible bag would, but this also encourages you to travel light and only carry the things you really need.

What’s remarkable about Malinko Design’s rather novel bag is that it pushes the envelope with fashion, experimenting with a new style and a new manufacturing procedure. The bag’s plastic construction is much more durable (and waterproof) than the average leather or fabric bag, and is, for the most part, recyclable. The plastic can be pulverized and converted into a filament and reused to 3D print other products, encouraging a circular economy around the Reusable Bag. Moreover, if the bag ever gets damaged or cracked, it can easily be fixed with a little heat, filament, and sandpaper. The strap can be fixed or replaced too, allowing you to use the bag for years to come.

Each Reusable Bag is made using 3D printing technologies, which generate significantly lesser waste than regular leather and fabric manufacturing. The bags are made to order too, reducing inventory, and take about 2 weeks to produce.