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Seattle Upcycler Sees Bright Future In Circular Economy

Disposable products used to be equated with convenience, but today, they just mean “waste” to most people. Rather than dispose of used or unwanted items, the goal now is to recycle or upcycle them so they can serve a useful purpose instead of heading for the landfill. According to Global Market Estimates, the idea has caught on to the point that the circular economy is expected to see double-digit yearly growth worldwide through 2028.

Textiles represent a large chunk of the circular economy — especially in the United States. Zion Market Research estimates that recycled textiles will be a $5.3 billion industry in the U.S. by 2030, up from $4.1 billion in 2022.

One company angling for a piece of that industry is Metamorphic Gear, a Seattle-based upcycling firm that transforms unwanted materials into bags and accessories. Metamorphic specializes in chic, eco-friendly products for outdoor enthusiasts and consumers who prefer an urban lifestyle. 

Photo Courtesy Metamorphic Gear 

The company mainly uses old boat sails, truck tarps, and climbing ropes as materials for its upcycled products.

All of its textiles are sourced locally in Seattle to reduce waste disposal and transportation and handling costs. Because these materials tend to be strong and durable, the repurposed items they are transformed into are durable as well.

Metamorphic Gear was founded in 2010 by Lindsay Lawrence, who previously held jobs in the green construction and boat manufacturing sectors. He used his experience as a traveler, sailor, and outdoorsman to inform designs for Metamorphic’s upcycled products.

Photo Courtesy Metamorphic Gear 

According to the company website, having been involved with sailing both professionally and recreationally, Lawrence “had hands-on knowledge” of the durability of sail material. Metamorphic Gear is inspired by outdoor equipment that Lawrence used, and upcycling of sailing materials became the “main ingredient” in his company’s products. His wife, Kim Lawrence, serves as co-owner of the company.

As of early 2024, Metamorphic’s products were carried by about 20 retailers in seven states: Washington, Oregon, California, Hawaii, Alaska, Illinois, and Louisiana. Its product lineup includes pouches, wallets, purses, dopp kits, tote bags, boat-style tote bags, and dog leashes.

Photo Courtesy Metamorphic Gear 

Metamorphic donates 1% of every sale to the Friends of Midway Atoll (FOMA) National Wildlife Refuge to help fund ocean cleanup. The atoll is located where the Battle of Midway was fought during World War II. In 1997, administrative control of Midway Atoll was transferred from the U.S. Navy to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The nonprofit National Wildlife Refuge was formed a couple of years later to promote ecological conservation and historic preservation.

“Our hope [is] that through my actions and business model, we get to show future generations to do the same and create bigger and better solutions to helping our Earth,” the Metamorphic website says. “We strive to be a stepping stone of positivity, eco-consciousness, and health to our oceans. The ocean is where we feel the deepest connection, so why not protect it?”

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