Vendors in Macedonia have a new product to sell along with their copies of Lice v lice (Face to Face) on the streets of Skopje.
Last month, the street paper teamed up with building materials company Knauf and a group of local designers and illustrators to create a range of durable canvas bags, called Strong Bags.
Made from recycled material, the bags are also environmentally friendly and are already being promoted in several Skopje markets as a sustainable alternative to plastic bags.
Lice v lice invited fashion designer Irina Tosheva to develop a design for the first street paper Strong Bag, which was created during a workshop with vulnerable young people. Since then, ten designers, illustrators and fashion designers have helped to produce 20 different hand-drawn designs.
The range is being sold by Lice v lice vendors under the slogan “Strong bags for strong social changes”.
The cost of the bags vary between 100 and 150 Macedonian denars (£1.14 – £1.71; €1.60 – €2.44) and vendors receive 50% of the profits. The remaining money goes towards a scheme to transport donated food to a day care centre which works with vulnerable young people in Shuto Orizari, one of the poorest municipalities in Macedonia.
The product was launched at a promotional event in Skopjefor which also celebrated the street paper’s 16th issue, which incidentally explored the theme of partnerships for positive social change. The first batch of bags sold out at the event within 30 minutes.
Lice v lice’s CEO, Klimentina Ilijevski, said that creating strong ties with local businesses like Knauf is vital to the street paper’s work.
“Partnerships are not instant actions that would end with one joint activity. It takes investment and dedication from both sides and clear goal,” she added.
Designer Tosheva said her creative colleagues quickly responded to her call for help, adding, “I hope that we can make this kind of event more frequent and that designers will unite for good causes. Together we can give our true contribution to the ones in need.”
Other designers who took part in the initiative are Ivan Petrusevski (FLIM), Ruzica Mandichevska (Ruki Chuki), Goran Kostovski (IND Og), Design and berries, Nina Simovska, Omajgad, The Micho, Em Elephantski, Marjan Dimic (Machka) and Dragan Kitanovski (Drash).
Similar to all INSP members, Lice v lice offers employment opportunities to homeless individuals to help them work their way out of poverty.
With support from the paper, many vendors have been able to earn enough money to get themselves off the streets and into housing or further education, like 21-year-old Erdzan.