Cesar, Aoracreo studio
Plastic passionate

A young woman walks up to Cesar Marulanda’s market stall and produces a small colourful wallet.  Cesar recognises it immediately as one he had made five years earlier. The woman holds the wallet with great affection and says it’s her treasure.

She introduces herself.  She’s visiting from Japan and has come to Melbourne to buy one of Cesar’s backpacks.

Cesar is getting used being sought out; more and more people are coming to his Aoracreo shop for the messenger bags, backpacks, clutches, totes, holsters, paniers and wallets he hand-sews in his Merri-bek workshop.

Increasingly people want a custom creation – a unique kind of backpack, a tote with a meaningful pattern, a special case for a cherished pair of binoculars.

Aoracreo bags are known for their wildly colourful designs and bold geometric patterns, that they are produced entirely from waste soft plastics infuses an extra level of passion in Cesar’s growing fanbase.

Working as an artist Cesar was taught how to iron layers of plastic bags into a sewable fabric. The material, with the qualities of polyester, nylon or polypropylene, was perfect for making wallets and bags but used a fraction of the energy and resources needed to produce virgin material.

A stint in RMIT’s industrial design school added embossing and vacuum forming techniques that allowed Cesar to create 3D patterns and form new shapes into his work and so Aoracreo evolved from functional art project into bespoke bag maker.

Aoracreo workshop using soft plastics

Cesar’s mission to reuse plastic doesn’t stop at his workshop door, he also teaches upcycling techniques in schools and workshops.

His aim is to empower as many people as he can to take control of the plastics that overwhelmingly end up in landfill, in waterways, in wildlife and ultimately in us.

Cesar is not alone in his mission, Aoracreo is part of a community scale recycling collective called Precious Plastic Started in the Netherlands it shares knowledge and promotes simple open source machinery to repurpose plastic waste around the world.

What’s the CERES connection you ask?  Each week at the Fair Food warehouse we put aside our soft plastics for Cesar to collect – this includes the very distinctive pink carrot bags which you’ll find on many Aoracreo designs.

This coming month we’re featuring a range of Cesar’ s upcycled clutches on our webshop – look out for the carrot bags and the occasional blue banana bag.

You can also find Cesar in person with all his wonderful work each weekend at the Rose St Market in Fitzroy.

Have a great week


Aoracreo backpack


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *