NOVEMBER ISSUE - FREITAG

FREITAG

Name: Douglas Koh
Occupation: Brand Ambassador - FREITAG

Industry: Fashion/Retail

Next up on our series for #CANVAS: @nuglas_ridinghood - Brand Ambassador of FREITAG, hub towards riding and winding down, essentially to slow down because that's where quality lies for him. Merging cycling and taking action, he pioneers the magic of commuting through cycling - in promoting conscientious behaviour. Being an advocate of sustainability, he's works on educating consumers through FREITAG.

Meet Douglas, a forerunner looking at opportunities for how FREITAG can promote its values. Inspired by the multicolored heavy traffic that rumbled through the Zurich transit intersection in front of their flat, they developed a messenger bag from used truck tarpaulins, discarded bicycle inner tubes and car seat belts. This is how the first FREITAG bags took shape in the living room of a shared apartment – each one recycled, each one unique.

The goal: To build a momentum that takes action in building a better world through sustainable living.

Let's ride along and see his next move ~

"Take a step back and consider your actions. Think twice about throwing away that disposable cutlery the next time." - Douglas Koh


TELL US ABOUT YOURSELF

Hi there! Growing up near the forest and lots of animals kind of groomed me to be an outsider (both literally and figuratively) naturally, things are still the same today and I have a great respect for biodiversity, nature and love collecting insects. As the world advances, it appears that little things like exploring nature, collecting experiences and cultures or even just enjoying some sun are often overlooked now. Just like FREITAG's brilliant manifesto point "We lose speed to win time", which essentially means the more time you save, the less time you have. We need to always try to slow ourselves down because that's where quality lies. Quality of life and quality of work. 

I spend my other time riding BMX, hit me up at East Coast Skatepark!

WHAT DOES YOUR JOB ENTAIL YOU TO DO?

As an Ambassador for FREITAG, I mainly am a forerunner looking at opportunities for how FREITAG can promote its values. We start in the opposite direction of most other brands by primarily focusing on our values and message of a cyclical conscientious life. This leads to a very refined network of partners. Finding such partners is extremely challenging and this is where we make big decisions which ultimately impact the future of the brand. 

My job needs me to bridge ideas and knowledge between Switzerland and our region. I speak not only for FREITAG but often in the opposite manner and as a representative of my culture, market and the diversity we have here. This refines our communication as a brand. I also spend lots of time travelling (Well, pre COVID).

WHAT MODE OF TRANSPORT DO YOU COMMUTE IN? WHY?

I have a motorcycle which I use for work and longer commutes when time is of the essence. But every other time, i'll ride my bike! I think the magic of riding a bicycle is irreplaceable because unlike any other form of transport, it truly can bring you anywhere, practically does not consume any resource for power and has a byproduct of pure joy! I go to the supermarket, visit my in-laws and meet friends all by bicycle. You can also drink and drive this one you know? Kidding.


HOW WOULD YOU INTRODUCE FREITAG TO THOSE WHOARE UNFAMILIAR WITH THE BRAND? WHAT SETS THE BRAND APART FROM OTHERS?

FREITAG as a brand stands for, Individuality, attitude and conscientious behaviour, knowing that your decisions will have an impact on others and the environment. This can be summarized in our Cyclist manifesto points which can be found online.

In a nutshell, our primary material truck tarpaulin which is upcycled from the roads in Europe is as durable as it gets and all our products are one of a kind because there is no second piece which was made with the exact portion of material. This leads to an astonishing number of individually unique products where F-ANs travel the world looking for that special piece. 

The brand is different from others because we preach our values and philosophies as the product and our physical items only serve as part of this message. FREITAG is 27 years old this year and many of our inner workings are years ahead of their time, there are many other brands today which are now practicing sustainable material sourcing, upcycling and transparency. Limited edition drop? Every FREITAG Shipment is a drop! It's been this way for 27 years now.

WHAT'S YOUR TAKE ON SUSTAINABLE LIVING?

Sustainable living has been a term we've seen a lot and is sometimes overused. I feel there is always an element of practicality and there is a huge spectrum of what it means to be living sustainably. At the extreme end, there are individuals who try to put out less than a KG of waste in a week, check every single packaging they purchase and are vegan. I truly respect them and feel that they have such a strong drive and motivation. This however, is not achievable by the majority because for example, if you lead a busy life and are constantly out for meetings, you are bound to have to buy some disposable item somewhere or need to contribute to CO2 emissions in some manner . 

So my point is, sustainable living is achievable to a certain extent for all us and this lies in our smaller decisions, bringing your own containers for take away when possible, supporting brands which share such values and reducing carbon emission whenever you can. The greatest impact will come from changes to infrastructure and as individuals, our little decisions will lead to that. This is already happening here in Singapore. I am definitely not living a 100% sustainable lifestyle but do my best whenever possible.     

WITH THE PANDEMIC AND RESTRICTIONS ON TRAVELLING, HOW DO YOU KEEP YOUR CREATIVE MOJO FLOWING?

Somehow, the restrictions on travel have brought about some positives, I am now able to slow things down and reconsider our activities in this region. Creativity is omnipresent and we have to keep our eyes and feelers always open to new nuances and changes. 

DO YOU HAVE ANY ADVICE FOR FOLKD OUT THERE WANTING TO BREAK INTO SUSTAINABLE LIVING AND TAKING ACTION FOR A BETTER WORLD?

My only advice would be, take a step back and consider your actions. Buy things that you need and that will last. Think twice about throwing away that disposable cutlery the next time. Much easier said than done, I know. But lets try!

THIS IS OUR STORY. THIS IS CANVAS.

SHOP FREITAG:

Unique items made from recycled truck tarp.

https://www.freitag.ch/en/store-locator

SHOP KEEN:

Consciously created since 2013

https://keenfootwear.sg/