bilum : upcycling* and french confection
Founded in 2005, the French fashion house Bilum gives a second life to salvaged or forgotten materials, destined to be thrown away.
With help from several French artisans, we design a large collection of bags, accessories, and even a few pieces of furniture. We select our materials based on their design, technicality, rarity, history and what they bring forth. Airbags and safety belts, huge billboard ads, Parisian palace curtains, awning and upholstery fabrics, boat sails, life jackets and airplane seat covers, uniforms, etc. all gain a second life.
« eco-responsible » by common sense, we established a local manufacturing short circuit from the start that fits into a social and solidarity-based economy.
Once the material has been carefully sorted, we handpick each piece and cut them manually in our workshop located at Choisy-le-roi, 7 km south of Paris.
Members of the social integration program hand wash the fragments of tarp and stiff materials, front and back, with environmentally-friendly laundry products. The textiles are deep washed by professionals from ESAT (employment of the disabled).
We have our own little studio used for tests and fabric trials, prototypes, miniseries, and customer service, and cooperate with 7 manufacturing workshops that we’ve chosen for their quality. They are all located in France, mainly in the Parisian area. Four of them are from the ESAT and EA program (employment of the disabled and Adapted Establishment). Some are highly-qualified leather workers renowned for their remarkable craftsmanship. They represent over 40 people. Including us, that makes over 50 people working each day to make high quality upcycling generated products just for you.
From the start, we have been sought out by symbolic fashion pioneers for whom we’ve made special collections. Agnès b. using decoration fabrics from their shops, Le bon Marché for its 160th anniversary, launching the airbag collection during Pompidou’s Spring Design event, our collections present at Corso Como in Seoul or Isetan in Tokyo…
bilum speaks to those looking for one-of-a-kind, original, iconic, or patrimonial pieces; all the while leaving a positive impact on earth.
The origin of the name bilum
The origin of the name “bilum”: noun / singular / pidgin (from Papua New Guinea) traditional string bags made by hand in Papua New Guinea, and whose ancestral confection has grown richer over the years by using newly available materials such as fibers and synthetic strings or even fishing nets. Traditionally, each bilum was made and decorated by its owner depending on their personal taste and personality and could invoke admiration from the other villagers.
*upcycling, also known as creative reuse, is the process of transforming by-products, waste materials, useless, or unwanted products into new materials or products of better quality or for better environmental value..