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The Summit

Taking bags into your own hands: trending with tarpaulin

Scarce jobs + Climate change + love of skiing = M-24

When Mat Dusting looked at present day problems; fears about the job market, worries about the environment and that age old desire to spend as much time as possible on the slopes, he decided to put them all into a bag. 

While other university leavers were looking for graduate jobs, Mat Dusting was scouring the UK for old tarpaulin and transforming it into practically indestructible, stylish luggage.The next new trend in the luggage market comes from an unlikely place, as M-24 operates in an old dairy on a farm in the heart of the Somerset countryside.

The retro - chic, ultra tough bags, ranging from rucksacks to holdalls and purpose-made bags for carrying ski boots and skis, are made from truck tarpaulin salvaged from across the UK. The straps, old recycled seat-belts, complete these fashionable accessories, the ultimate in upcycling.

‘It’s the perfect material’ says businessman Mat, ‘designed initially to be durable  and weatherproof enough to withstand punishing  long journeys on the side of a lorry, once cleaned and transformed into my M-24 products it not only looks stunning but is extremely functional.’

Thousands of tonnes of this robust, weatherproof material are thrown away every year as old lorries are despatched to the breakers yard. Hopefully Mat will spark a trend in product design as well as the luggage market, as he sets an example by using quality, existing materials and skilled local labour. Leather workers in Somerset are transforming tarpaulin from across the UK into stylish, hand-stitched M-24 bags.

For Mat, necessity was very much the mother of invention.  A keen winter sports fanatic, he was plagued by poor quality bags that were not durable enough to cope with transporting snowboards, skis and ski boots.  Applying knowledge gained during his product design degree at Aston Universtiy, Mat determined to develop a bag that would not split or break if overloaded, knocked or damaged. After a long search, he hit upon old lorry ‘curtains’ or tarps, as the ideal medium.  There’s already great interest in M-24’s upcoming launch at the National Ski and Snowboard Show at Earls Court from October 31st – November 4th where Mat will be show casing his design skills not just through his products but also the stand, which he is building himself entirely from salvaged materials.

M-24 is based at Fennington Farm,in the village of Kingston St Mary, near Taunton. The company is backed by a start-up grant from Taunton Deane Borough Council and a low-cost loan from the Prince’s Trust. The name, M-24, is a combination of Mat’s initials and his age when he began the venture.   

View Mat’s innovative range at http://www.m-24.co.uk/

Meet him at the National Ski and Snowboard Show Earls Court, October 31st – November 4th.

For further enquiries: 07736 807880  M-24

Or Rebecca Pow 07900 685 303 Pow Productions www.rebeccapow.com Rebecca@powproductions.tv

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