RE-SOURCING: ARMY SURPLUS
The Francli design and make process is about being as resourceful as possible. Discovering creative ways to stop perfectly functional and beautiful materials from being sent to landfill.
Salvaging discarded objects, collecting factory off-cuts and buying dead-stock fabrics; there are many exciting places to explore for all the components of our products. It's an approach that is often inspiring and spontaneous, leading to eclectic materials such as military surplus, discontinued climbing equipment, leather upholstery, boat sails and boat production off-cuts.
These material misfits directly influence the designs and make each Francli rucksack unique...
ARMY SURPLUS KIT BAG
These British Army surplus ‘kit bags’ are sourced from a supplier that holds a contract with the MOD. Surplus is army goods that are sold, or otherwise thrown away, when they’re no longer needed by the military. The bags are either Grade 1 (items that have been previously worn, with all functions working) or Grade 2 (items that have been previously worn with some holes, rips or tears).
They’re built for the ultimate kit test – the military. So the fabric, hardware and webbing are reliable and not over-designed. They’re simply strong and durable. The finish varies from bag to bag depending on how it’s been used, but as a military item they are also weatherproofed and fireproofed.
In their original state, despite their previous use, they arrive as highly functional objects. Typically the surplus industry would re-sell them as camping/fishing/outdoor gear. Yet to be functional, an object also has to be desirable… Re-purposing them into a contemporary product hopefully means it will be used and cherished for even longer.
I love the stories that each one tells. The different textures and colour fades that come from where its been and how its been used. The individual initials, names and numbers that are handwritten, stencilled or patched. The myriad ways they’ve been repaired – whether it’s delicate darning, or clumsy tape. It gives a human element to each one. They coming from an old life of utility and hardiness, through the studio, and onto a new life of adventure...
Each surplus kit bag consists of a heavy canvas body, inner canvas flap, webbing handle and strap and a stainless steel clasp. The form of the original bag directly influences the design of a new pack. I deconstruct the pieces, cut new patterns and move around the remaining hardware to waste as little as possible. The main piece of the canvas fabric becomes the rucksack body, back panel and shoulder straps. The inner canvas flap is opened up and becomes the front pocket. The hardware is used as the rucksack closure. I then introduce new, predominantly British made, materials to make up the rest. Such as waxed canvas, cotton or nylon webbing, YKK zips, leather or Hypalon and Velcro. As every surplus kit bag is different, every Kit Rucksack is unique.
This canvas ‘basha’ is an American camouflage from the Vietnam era. This 2 metre x 2 metre square of canvas was designed as a military aid for woodland operations. Lightweight, strong and lined with brass eyelets, it would have been adaptable as an impromptu shelter or observation post.
R-PD/0001 KIT RUCKSACK
This pack is the first of the Re-Purpose Driven Series; limited edition Kit Rucksacks, released on a first-come-first-serve basis, using the more unusual materials that I’ve collected over the years in the studio. This R-PD/0001 is made with the re-appropriated American camo ‘basha’. Combined with an army surplus kit bag, British made nylon webbing, YKK no.5 coil zips and vegetable tanned leather.