Southwest Airlines is turning their old leather seats into fashionable accessories, all with the help of Mexican fashion label Carla Fernández. LUV Seat: Mexico is upcycling hundreds of pounds of leather from old airplane seat covers to create everything from shoes, bags, ponchos and key chains. By working with indigenous artisans in seven different Mexican communities who specialize in creating textile and embroidery designs, Carla Fernández is helping to keep Mexico’s cultural heritage alive.
LUV Seat: Mexico is an expansion of Southwest’s Repurpose with Purpose global sustainability initiative, which began in 2013 following the Evolve retrofit program that replaced the aircraft leather seat covers. By providing leather to Carla Fernández, Southwest reduces the amount of waste the airline sends to landfills while also generating social and economic opportunities for communities.
“Southwest Airlines is proud to partner with Carla Fernández on LUV Seat: Mexico as a part of our Repurpose with Purpose program,” said Bill Tiffany, Southwest Airlines Vice President Supply Chain Management. “Through this impactful program, indigenous artisans have been able to incorporate their trades into the designs to create some incredible pieces while learning essential economic development skills through entrepreneurial training programs.”
Carla Fernández worked with artisans in seven different communities throughout Mexico who specialize in creating textile and embroidery designs and handcrafts that preserve the country’s rich cultural heritage. The Carla Fernández brand’s work, which combines centuries-old techniques and long-standing traditions in the creation of their designs, has achieved international recognition and acclaim.
Carla Fernández works closely with the artisans, who are compensated, as they learn how to develop new products and skills.
“Working with the Southwest team on this project, which seeks to create social and economic impact, has been a great experience for us,” said Carla Fernández, who founded her eponymous label in 2000. “We feel we have found friends and partners after a couple of years of constant communication and hard work in delivering these great products.”
“We are confident that LUV Seat: Mexico will be a success and we know it will be a benchmark for other similar endeavors,” Fernández added.