René van Geer (Industrial Design TU Delft) and Marianne van Sasse van Ysselt (Fashion School and Charles Montagne) worked for countless industrial clients for decades and dreamt of working on their own (consumer) brand and mission without compromises. In 2009, they founded the family business Secrid. Their innovation, the Cardwallet, revolutionized the wallet market.
Van Geer and Van Sasse (and now their daughters Michelle and Daniëlle and son Nando, who work in the company) have a mission: all products are sustainably designed, and the CO2-neutral production deliberately takes place in the Netherlands, in collaboration with social workshops. Since 2022, they have been 'B Corp' certified, which means the company aims to bring about a positive change in social and environmental aspects through entrepreneurship. Additionally, they have developed a unique design philosophy with seven principles for holistic design.
Secrid invests 1% of its revenue in projects that contribute to their mission: driving the Industrial Evolution. The idea behind it is clear: newly developed products should be better than previous generations. Since the industrial revolution and the relocation of factories to low-wage countries, mass production of low-priced, short-lived goods has become the norm. This results in social inequality, resource scarcity, environmental pollution, declining biodiversity, and a climate crisis. "The industry cannot be stopped, but it can be changed," say the founders of Secrid. "In that transition, we see a leading role for designers." The seven selected designers who will be featured on the Secrid Talent Podium during DDW show what they mean by this.
Claybens | Emy Bensdorp
For example, Emy Bensdorp has developed a technique to process PFAS-contaminated clay soil into clean bricks. The highly harmful and persistent toxin PFAS is found throughout the Netherlands in the soil and cannot be broken down. Bensdorp has found a method to clean clay soil: the high firing temperature in the baking process breaks down the toxic chemicals, resulting in a product that can be used on a large scale for building houses.
René van Geer says, "It's remarkable how this young designer has achieved such a beautiful result in the traditional construction industry. It took years of perseverance to go from an idea to a successful production process and a viable business model."
ClimaFibre | Jess Redgrave
Jess Redgrave came up with ClimaFibre, a raincoat made from sunflower waste. On a lab scale, she has already managed to use the whole flower for high-quality textiles, natural dye, and a moisture-repellent coating. ClimaFibre is a regenerative alternative to cotton, which, while natural, has become a mono-crop in the fashion industry due to high demand, depleting the soil, requiring a lot of water, and usually being produced in distant countries with the use of pesticides.
René van Geer says, "Jess demonstrates how natural and regenerative processes can be translated into a superior product that consumes fewer pesticides and less water while restoring agricultural land. We encourage Jess to continue working with her passion on this game-changer in the fashion industry."
Fungi Force | Frans van Rooijen
Entrepreneur Frans van Rooijen and scientist Dr. Michael Sailer developed Xyhlo Biofinish and Fungi Force, a circular wood finish based on fungi and linseed oil. These natural materials serve as an environmentally friendly alternative to finishes or paints made from chemical substances, which prevent wood from being recycled and release toxic substances into the environment. The harmless fungi are nourished by linseed oil and are capable of protecting the wood and self-repairing.
René van Geer says, "No chemicals to fight against wood rot caused by fungi, but using fungi themselves to protect wood. It's a beautiful example of a natural process translated into a practical and circular product that has been brought to the market after years of development."
Solarix | Marloes van Heteren en Reiner Bosch
Reinier Bosch and Marloes van Heteren of Solarix create aesthetic solar panels for facades, utilizing an unused surface exposed to the sun to generate extra power in addition to roof-mounted solar panels. They bridge the worlds of construction and solar panels with their design collection featuring unique color technology and an innovative mounting system, contributing to sustainable and beautiful cities.
René van Geer states, "A strong example of the power of design: solar panels that adorn rather than disfigure. Traditional panels are limited to roofs, making it impossible for high-rise buildings to become energy-neutral. With vertically placed panels, Reinier and Marloes offer a welcome addition within architecture."
Sumo Baby | Luisa Kahlfeldt
Luisa Kahlfeldt has found a natural, reusable, and effective alternative to synthetic disposable diapers with Sumo Baby. In Germany alone, 10 million of these diapers are discarded and take 500 years to decompose. Luisa reduces the use of about 5,000 diapers to 25 that are easy to wash, attractively designed, and better for baby bottoms.
René van Geer comments, "Luisa addresses a massive waste stream, and the appealing design helps raise awareness and change behavior among parents. Moreover, the overall cost of these reusable diapers is lower than disposable ones."
Super Local | Luc van Hoeckel
Luc van Hoeckel, of Super Local, designs custom design products in developing countries based on local demand, instead of donating items that don't work in the local context. He designs using locally available materials for a target audience that often lacks access to basic necessities, providing jobs for local makers.
René van Geer remarks, "Luc illustrates the power of design for developing countries with an excess of waste and a shortage of resources. He solves both issues with his tailor-made designs, promoting circular waste processing, creating employment and income, and ensuring better availability of products in the local market."
Vorkoster | Kimia Amir-Moazami
The true shelf life of food is often much longer than indicated on the packaging. This results in massive food waste worldwide. Kimia Amir-Moazmi has been collaborating with Sany Chea (a PhD chemist) for two years on a product that allows consumers to determine if food is still safe to eat. Vorkoster (taster) is a lid with a foil that reacts to the pH value of stored food. By changing color, it indicates whether protein-containing food is still edible or spoiled.
René van Geer adds, "A promising innovative solution that can potentially replace the theoretical expiration date. By measuring food safety in real time, people no longer have to discard good food. We're happy to help Kimia raise awareness among consumers."