ANA Future promise Resources "Upcycling" initiative: Used maintenance work clothes are now being turned into handmade bags ANA Future promise Resources "Upcycling" initiative: Used maintenance work clothes are now being turned into handmade bags

January 21, 2022

We would like to introduce you to our "upcycling" initiative, which began with the idea of one mechanic in the ANA Group, to make effective use of limited resources by turning discarded maintenance work clothes into beautiful bags.

Approximately 3,000 mechanics support the ANA Group's flight operations!

The ANA Group conducts inspections of airplanes before departure and after arrival in order to deliver passengers to their destinations safely, comfortably, and on time as stated in the timetable. We also regularly take the airplanes into the hangar to inspect the inside of the aircraft, as well as the removed parts, and carry out repairs and renovations. These tasks are handled by the approximately 3,000 mechanics employed by the ANA Group (as of October 2021). They work day and night, even in bad weather conditions such as heavy rain and snow, to perform maintenance work accurately and quickly, supporting the operation of airplanes.

A photo of mechanics working near the nose landing gear of an airplane

A photo of mechanics working near the nose landing gear of an airplane

Maintenance work clothes filled with thoughts

To become a mechanic, you need to acquire specialized knowledge through various trainings and pass a number of exams, and before the exams, you may have to study until late at night even after work before going home. There are also sudden business trips, both domestic and international. Our mechanics are supported every day by the people around them, including friends, family, and colleagues who work together to improve their skills through friendly competition, as they engage in maintenance work with the safety of airplanes in mind. Most importantly, the work clothes that mechanics wear are the things that always watch over them from the closest.

A photo of maintenance work clothes

A photo of maintenance work clothes

What is "upcycling"?

The work clothes worn by mechanics are worn out and sometimes have holes in them after repeated use. As a result, many of the work clothes that can no longer be used have been discarded.
In this situation, one mechanic in the ANA Group spoke up. He asked himself, "Can't we reuse the fabric of the work clothes that are to be discarded? I want to make our work clothes work again." This thought led to the launch of a project to reuse work clothes as bags. The term "upcycling" refers to the process of reusing resources that would otherwise be discarded to create something new and valuable.


A photo of used work clothes (left) and a photo of bags made from used clothes (right)

A photo of used work clothes (left) and a photo of bags made from used clothes (right)

These are beautiful bags made by "upcycling"!

Types of bags

  • Small tote bag (upper left)

  • Large tote bag (upper right)

  • Vertical PC bag (lower left)

  • Sacoche (lower right)

Photos showing the four types of bags

Features of the bags

  • Uses strong fabric

  • Scarcity because the product cannot be mass-produced

  • Highly functional with many pockets

  • Features pen case inside (except for Sacoche)

A photo showing a bag made with the pocket of a mechanic work shirt

Manufacturing process

It takes a lot of time and effort to make a bag using old clothes, but we carefully manufactured each bag one by one.

  • ROOTOTE, a brand specializing in tote bags, has created a design like no other together with ANA WING FELLOWS VIE OJI Co., Ltd.

  • All used clothes are laundered at NT Aqua Twins Corporation, which specializes in commercial cleaning.

  • Each item is "cut", "repaired", and "sewn" almost by hand by craftsmen.

A photo of work clothes being cleaned and bags being made by hand

As soon as the sales schedule is decided, we will inform you on the ANA official website or SNS.
Contact Information:

Interview with the person in charge

We interviewed Mr. Hideya Takahashi from ANA Engineering & Maintenance Center (and ANA WING FELLOWS VIE OJI Co., Ltd.), the originator of the idea!

A photo of Mr. Takahashi, the originator of the idea

A photo of Mr. Takahashi, the originator of the idea

What was your motivation for starting this project? Why did you decide to make the bags?
When the work clothes (jumpsuits) used by mechanics are badly dirty or torn, they are discarded. When I saw the discarded jumpsuits, I remembered that my mother used to make school tool cases and bags from old clothes that were no longer worn when I was a child, and I wondered if I could use the less dirty parts for something else. Even now, I still treasure the bag that my mother made for me from old clothes.
Also, the Jumpsuits of our mechanics are filled with the feelings of many people who support us in various ways, such as working together with our colleagues to maintain airplanes, studying hard with our colleagues in friendly rivalry to obtain national certification, and having our family and friends help us change their schedules when a sudden business trip came up.
I felt that we could not just throw away these precious jumpsuits filled with such feelings, so I came up with this idea of using the jumpsuits that should have been thrown away to do fun and eco-friendly activities together with the people who support ANA.


What were the particular points in the design of the bag?
I decided on the design of the bag together with ROOTOTE so as to maximize the use of the functions of the jumpsuits. In particular, we designed the ANA logo to be used as is, since it is the most distinctive part of the jumpsuits. We made about 50 prototypes in about two years, and after repeated trial and error, we were finally able to commercialize the product.
In the production process, we focused on handwork. Work clothes are sewn in tightly and require a lot of time to disassemble. In addition, since they have been washed many times, the fabric shrinks and is difficult to mold. Handcrafting takes a lot of time and cost, but it is also an environmentally friendly way of manufacturing because it does not use machines that use a lot of electricity.

Please tell us what you want to convey to the people who will use your upcycled bags.
While we were discussing the idea of using old clothes to make bags, the new coronavirus infection spread. Due to this, we were not able to proceed with the plan as we had hoped, and I felt like I was going to lose my way many times, but I was always supported by many colleagues in such times. With the spirit of "challenge," which is the DNA of the ANA Group, I persevered together with my colleagues and finally commercialized the product about three years after the idea was conceived. We hope that we can convey this challenging spirit to our customers.
In addition to the above, the ANA Group is also proactively working to achieve the SDGs. We hope that you will use and enjoy this one-of-a-kind bag filled with the thoughts of the ANA Group.

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The ANA Group will continue to strive for the effective use of limited resources while valuing the awareness of each and every employee.