Most cars eventually end up at the scrapyard, but that doesn’t have to mean their story is over. You’ve heard of car accessories, but what about accessories fashioned from your car? Meet Mariclaro, a Canadian brand that creates stylish and functional accessories from upcycled materials, including abandoned vehicles.
Before a car is a demolished, the Mariclaro team cuts out the interior fabric, cleans it, and carefully stitches it into something new, letting the car’s personality show in every seam. You may not be able to drive that old 70s Cadillac, but you can still wear a piece of it!
Upcycling to Capture a Vehicle’s Story
Cars always intrigued Sven Schlegel, founder and owner of Mariclaro. But when he was living on a modest student budget, owning one was just a fantasy. Once he could afford his own vehicle, Sven gravitated to vintage models for their classic designs and high-quality materials.
With Mariclaro, Sven’s goal was to prove that repurposed materials can not only be of the same quality as new ones, but provide richer stories with more interesting characters.
As he sifted through various material for his projects, Sven kept returning to car interiors. “A big part of it [Mariclaro] was to be able to show the transformation of the material,” he said. “I like the cars personally because there’s more of a story, more variation, and I can relate to them the most.”
Mariclaro’s accessories include backpacks, handbags, billfolds, wallets, and passport cases. Most of the products are repurposed from the upholstery, seat belts, and other interior parts of vintage cars from luxury automakers, including Cadillac, Mercedes, Porsche, and Lamborghini.
How It Started
The first Mariclaro product was a handbag made from discarded election banners in Mexico, where Sven was pursuing his PhD in Resource Management. After seeing what he could do with something as simple as banners, Sven quickly started exploring other materials.
“In the beginning, we worked with all different kinds of recycled materials,” said Sven. “Bicycles, furniture, tarps, fire hoses…everything.”
As he continued to develop the company, it was only a matter of time before Sven homed in on cars. Though Mariclaro still works with other objects, in recent years, cars have been one of their main sources of material. Sven finds most of the material himself, searching scrapyards for abandoned treasures just waiting to be discovered.
Since launching in 2008, Mariclaro has done projects for Mercedes Benz, Air Canada, Alaska Airlines, and TEDx Talks. In 2011, the company received the GLOBE Award for Environmental Excellence for best green Canadian product.
Find Out What Went into Your Wallet
Information about the car used to make the piece is printed inside every project. With the billfolds, you’ll get the exact VIN number of the donor car. “We include this so people can find out the story of the car,” said Sven.
You can research a VIN to find out more about the car’s identity, such as the year, make, and where it was made. If your Mariclaro product comes from a car made after 1981, you can get an official VIN report or vehicle history report that could reveal details like accident history, maintenance records, or odometer readings.
Carry a Piece of Your Car with You
Have an old vehicle that you can’t bear to part with? Mariclaro can repurpose part of its interior into a one-of-a-kind accessory you can keep.
Sven collaborates with the client while still maintaining creative freedom to produce a custom bag, wallet, or other accessory that keeps the spirit of the car alive long after it stops running.
By requesting a commissioned piece, you can always be reminded of the road trips you took with your car, the auto shows you showed it off at, or the drive-in theatres you parked at to enjoy an outdoor movie. With an upcycled accessory—a billfold, a wallet, a custom bag—from Mariclaro, a car’s story can continue.