Media Overview

30 Years of FREITAG

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Media release, September 19, 2023


On its 30th birthday, FREITAG looks back to its beginnings. The Zurich bag-makers pay a heartfelt tribute to and thank all the imitators who have helped to make FREITAG something of an original over the years. And that applies especially to one of Switzerland’s largest supermarket chains. With a limited edition, the F13-D COPY CAT, FREITAG has transformed the Donnerstag copy from the 1990s into a recycled original and, from September 19 to 30, will be selling the unique bags exclusively during the «Donnerstag Weeks» at their Flagship Store in Zurich, which has been converted into a supermarket for the purpose. 99% of the profits from the campaign will be donated to the social initiative of a Swiss retailer. 

For three decades, the FREITAG bag has stood not only for design and functionality, but also for the resource-saving use of materials and durability. From the first F13 TOP CAT Messenger Bag, which was admitted to the design collection of the Museum of Modern Art in New York (MoMA) in 2003, a wide range of bags and accessories have been born. For some models today, the used truck tarp is combined with recycled PET textile, B-stock airbags or even a circular smartphone protective case made of worn-out ski boots. Always true to the corporate philosophy: «We think and act in cycles».
The culture of copying is omnipresent, not only in music, art or literature, but also in design and fashion. And with its unique product and increasingly widespread recognition, FREITAG is attracting imitators. Some limit themselves to sewing the characteristic black-and-white FREITAG logo onto their own creations. For others, however, there are no bounds to their imagination, even when it comes to naming: the list of copies such as «FERTILE», «WOCHENENDE» (Weekend) or «FERIENTAG» (Holiday) is long. 
Fortunately, some of the imitators take their inspiration from not only the form but also the company’s beliefs and likewise focus on reusing materials or environment-friendly production processes.

In 1997, Markus Freitag went shopping in a branch of one of Switzerland's largest supermarket chains. Suddenly, there between the carrots and the cookies, he came across something that looked familiar. Directly in front of him was a copy of a FREITAG bag. Except this one was called «Donnerstag» (Thursday) and it was mass-produced from flimsy new plastic. Sure, they’d copied the bag, but not the idea. This bag was neither unique nor recycled, and it probably wasn’t all that durable. It wasn't so much the day of the week (in German, Donnerstag is the day before Friday) that was so different, but the choice of material, the production method and the belief behind the product. 

The supermarket’s counterfeit caused a stir and was a big headache for a bag-making company that was still pretty small and whose production site was a 60-sq.m studio in the Maag complex in Zurich's industrial district. «Can they do that?» «Is the Donnerstag bag the beginning of the end for FREITAG?» These were the questions that caused sleepless nights for the Freitag brothers and their first permanent employee at the time. To everyone's relief, it didn’t lead to a horrendous court battle, or even the mass production of Donnerstag bags that would possibly have buried FREITAG. Thanks to a wave of sympathy from fans and friends, which was also picked up by the media, the retailer took the copy off its shelves and promised never again to name bags after days of the week. 

As a tribute to this turning point in the company’s then-still-young history – which may even have made the brand an original – FREITAG is now turning the tables and taking the concept of copying ad absurdum. Inspired by a major retailer, the bag-makers invite you to the «Donnerstag Weeks» at the Flagship Store in Zurich from September 19 to 30. Working with designer Leandro Destefani, they’ve transformed it into an almost real supermarket using objects salvaged from various secondhand platforms such as a vegetable display case, a perfectly functioning supermarket checkout with a conveyor belt, and a refrigerated shelf that is not hooked up to power for emission reasons.

The centerpiece of the «Donnerstag Weeks» is waiting in the large, warm refrigerated section: After almost 30 years, with the limited Donnerstag edition of the F13-D COPY CAT, FREITAG has transformed the copy into an original. The Donnerstag Messenger Bags from FREITAG are made of used truck tarps in a wide range of shades of blue and equipped with an original Donnerstag label. The edition will be sold exclusively at the Flagship Store in Zurich – right next to Hardbrücke, the birthplace of the first FREITAG bag. And speaking of money, FREITAG will donate 99% of the profits from this special anniversary offer to the social initiative of a Swiss retailer. After all, you don’t turn thirty every year.

Facts about the Donnerstag Weeks at FREITAG
Duration: September 19 to 30, 2023
Model: F13-D COPY CAT
Quantity: limited to 400 units
Dimensions: 430 × 120 × 360 mm (L × W × H) / 16.9 × 4.7 × 14.2 inch (L × W × H)
Weight: 1285 g
Volume: 22 – 40 l
Price: CHF 290
Available exclusively at the FREITAG Flagship Store Zurich. As long as stocks last.


Something that started out as the idea of two brothers in a shared apartment in Zurich in the fall of 1993 has developed into a company that brings one-off recycled bags to the streets from Europe to Asia. Fast forward to today, the driving principle behind FREITAG has been to keep used materials in circulation for as long as possible. And for the future, there are even plans to close the cycles. Together with its partners in industry, the company has been working on the creation of a circular truck tarp since 2020. In 2023, FREITAG sent its first fully recyclable backpack into production; this will be available by the name of Mono[PA6] from spring 2024 onwards. FREITAG lab. ag, headquartered in Zurich Oerlikon, is not only committed to the circular economy, but is also organized in circles. In 2016, the company, which today employs around 250 people and is still owned by the Freitag brothers, abolished the classic hierarchy, including management, and has since been working according to the principles of self-organization.


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Since 2021, FREITAG has been working with various industrial partners to develop a truck tarp that, even after a long second life as a FREITAG bag, doesn’t end up in the garbage but back in the cycle. For this purpose, we are carrying out research and working on various material combinations of a circular truck tarp. The first two prototypes of a circular tarp designed to close the technical material cycle at FREITAG are already out on their first test run. Click here for the full media release. 

FREITAG is embarking on a new cycle with a product made from just one material and, in summer 2023, is sending the first circular backpack containing absolutely no truck tarp into production. This latest circular development from FREITAG is called Mono[PA6] because every part of the backpack, from the fabric to the buckles, is made of just one material: polyamide 6. The first 1500 units of the first circular backpack will be made of virgin PA6, a non-recycled material, and are expected to be available in spring 2024, along with a repair concept and take-back process. Click here for the full media release.

FREITAG gives well-worn ski boots a second life as circular iPhone® protectors and customizes them with a card holder made from discarded truck tarp, which will also fit the cases of the next generation of iPhones. For its very first circular product, a smartphone case made from worn-out ski boots, FREITAG is liaising closely with various partners in Switzerland. At the end of its product life cycle, the R-TPU from discarded ski boots can be used again and again for the production of new CIRC-CASEs. Click here for the full media release.

S.W.A.P. is the Tinder-style bag exchange for all FREITAG bag enthusiasts and is the no-hassle way to find a new bag to fall in love with and get rid of your old one. Click here for the S.W.A.P. media release.
For almost as long as FREITAG bags have been around, the bag manufacturers have been extending their lives with a range of repair services. Click here for the Repair media release.