Monday, October 3, 2011

Our Hats and Bags Are the Very Tarp of the Heap!

Real Deal Brazil founder Walter R. Perkins Jr. has a longstanding love affair with Brazil, and would likely find some excuse to get there even if work didn't periodically require it!

On his last trip there, Mr. P., as we all call him, got a couple snapshots of one of the coastal markets he likes to frequent, wandering around and looking at local wares. It was at just such a market in 2008 where Mr. P. chanced upon the prototype of our own distinctive headwear, which he later took to a remote inland town known for its hatmaking, employing a family sewing business there to modify the design into what has since become our classic Real Deal Brazil recycled-tarp hat.

Coastal Brazilian market, No. 1.
Coastal Brazilian market, No. 2.
But Mr. P. returned from his most recent trip to the steamy south loaded down with a lot more than just photos and his usual stories to fill us with envy cuz we didn’t get to go with him! This time, he also brought with him a huge sheet of weathered old canvas truck tarp, that heavy, tightly woven cotton material at the very heart of what we do.

Our hats and bags are, of course, handmade from recycled tarps that once stretched across the beds of cargo trucks, like the ones in the photo immediately below.

Cargo trucks outfitted with protective canvas tarps.
In Brazil, the world’s fifth-largest country, most cargo is transported by trucks, their payloads frequently protected by such heavy canvas tarps, which wind up being pummeled by deluges of blinding rain, baked and broiled by scalding heat, whipped by harsh winds and assaulted by various road debris. By some estimates, there’s enough tarp barreling along Brazilian roads to cover the entire surface of the moon, and then some!

Above and below left, workers at the small São Paulo business that collects old truck tarps for us
to send to our sewing group in central Brazil.

In the last few years, enterprising small Brazilian businesses have begun buying up old tarps from trucking agencies, making all that road-seasoned canvas a bit more scarce than it used to be – though, happily, also helping to keep even more of it out of landfills. We work with a little company in Brazil’s largest city of São Paulo to secure recycled truck tarps for our RDB sewing group. (Click on the photo with the guy in the red shirt and all the bundled tarps, and check out the heels on our São Paulo business partner’s shoes; in Brazil, personal style never takes a holiday!)
The final photo, below, is of Mr. P. back in the U.S. of A., in hometown Greenville, N.C., holding up that recycled truck tarp he brought back from Brazil. (Note the cool printing on the tarp, which explains how snippets of Portuguese lettering and unusual graphics sometimes pop up on our hats and bags.)

Mr. P. back in the United States with a sheet of recycled Brazilian truck tarp.

The Real Deal Brazil – because one person’s old tarp is another’s new treasure!


Ryan said...

HA! My RDB hat has part of that train logo in the brim - people always comment on it.


Upir said...

Man, I wish my Manaus bag has some printing on it, that train would have been wicked nifty.

Dakwah Syariah said...

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Stephen Gelly said...

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Matthew said...

custom canvas tarps are very durable that is why it is commonly used on truck covers and other applications.