Upcycled in Hong Kong


GREEN RATING  Deep Green. Upcycling an authentic flour bag into a unique tote bag.

PRODUCT RATING  Good. Thoughtfully designed and well made.


AVAILABLE AT Star Ferry Farmers’ Market every Sunday, Mapopo Community Farm, ACO Book (14/F, Foo Tak Building, 265 Hennessy Road, Wanchai)

My mother-in-law visited Hong Kong recently and I was happy to show her around. One of the “must visit” places listed in Lonely Planet is Stanley.  My mother-in-law was very excited shopping for souvenirs in the Stanley market.  She picked up a tiny cloth bag with panda embroidery on it and asked the shopkeeper, “is it made in Hong Kong?”  The shop-keeper replied “Yes, of course. And it is designed by our own in-house designer.” Pleased with the answer, she paid HKD 50 for this little pouch which can probably hold a pack of kleenex.  We walked down two shops and saw the exact same panda pouch for sale!

If you happen to be visiting Hong Kong and are looking for souvenirs which are truly made in Hong Kong, I would recommend this upcycled flour bag instead.  It’s made by Yung-jie, a retired former garment factory seamstress. She collects used flour bags, washes and irons them, then spends a couple of hours sewing the strap, the liner and zippered inner pockets as well as other features. Yung-jie’s daughter often teases her by telling her that including the time it takes to make and sell the bags, she is not even making the minimum wage!  But Yung-jie does not mind. She laughs it off and told me that she simply enjoys talking to her customers directly so that she can explain to them all the thoughtful design features she has added to her upcycled bags.

I bought one from Yung Jie about 7 months ago and have been using it almost on a daily basis – often filling it with heavy groceries.  Although the colour has faded a bit after a few washes, overall it’s holding up really well.

In addition to the tote bag above, there are many other designs such as pencil cases and backpacks. Check out the Sunday Star Ferry Farmers’ market and talk to Yung Jie directly about these upcycled bags that she makes right here in Hong Kong.

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