The two founders of Noon Solar, Jane Palmer and Marianne Fairbanks, have backgrounds in fibers and textiles. They met in the graduate MFA program at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Their company began as an art project in early spring of 2002 as a response to the impending war in Iraq. They were feeling powerless in the country's decision making process and felt the US was largely going to war for oil. They came up with a solution to give people not only personal power, but to integrate renewable solar power into daily life.
When we began this project, we started making bags out of recycled vinyl. Although we were proud of using recycled products, we subsequently vinyl is created using petroleum products and can take up to 500 years to biodegrade, all the while leaching chemicals into the ground. It was with this concern in mind that we chose to switch to using natural leathers. Our leathers are tanned the way people thousands of years ago would tan, with sustainably harvested materials like rhubarb and walnuts and without heavy metals such as chrome. This ensures the earth is not polluted when the leather is tanned, and ensures that the leather can biodegrade naturally. In addition, this process creates leather that is gorgeous, luscious, and amazingly soft to the touch.
Due to tremendous growth in global demand, most of the world's leather tanneries use sodium sulfate and chrome sulfate to speed the leather tanning and dying process. However, the use of these chemicals in leather tanning has contributed to very high levels of local water pollution throughout the world. In fact, many of the world's leather tanneries are located in countries that are loathe to regulate and ensure proper pollution controls. Unfortunately, the result of this trade off of commerce over health is leather products with high levels of toxicity (chromium is absorbed into the leather we use and wear) as well as highly contaminated drinking water for the local population surrounding the tanneries themselves.
It is for these reasons that Noon Solar uses only naturally tanned and vegetable dyed leathers sourced from the finest tanneries in Europe. Vegetable tanning is a more time intensive process which avoids the harsh environmental impacts that chemically tanned leather creates.
We encourage all to read more about the leather tanning process at these following links:
Tannery Pollution on Groundwater Regime
Low Pollution Processes in Leather Production
Adoption of Clean Leather-Tanning Technologies in Mexico
On the outside of your bag, there is a paper thin, flexible solar panel. This solar panel charges a battery pack located inside the bag to supply power for your cell phone or iPod, day or night. Simply place the solar panel in the bag towards the sun to collect usable energy. Put it in your window at work, home, car, or on the train; face it towards the sun at a cafe; or walk/bike around town with the panel exposed. Even on cloudy or rainy days, energy is collected through the UV light of the sun. On a bright, sunny day the battery should be fully charged in 6-8 hours. On a cloudy day the battery will require a bit more time. The battery pack will hold the sun's energy for several days.
Included with each Noon Solar bag is a user manual explaining the specifics of solar energy and how to access and use it.
We believe that the pieces we make should have a "cradle to cradle" life cycle, rather than the common "cradle to grave" product life. All the materials in Noon products are either biodegradable or can be easily reclaimed and re-used. Noon has also committed to using ethical labor practices, and all our leather bags are made in NYC.
Way of Life, Capitola, CA
Nat and Helens, Chicago, IL
Lady Savannah, Green Bay, WI
JD Myers Redlands, CA
Juno and Jove, Sarasota, FL
The Andersonville Galleria, 5247 North Clark Street, Chicago, IL
Vyne Magazine- 2009
Marie Claire -2009
Plenty Magazine, October/November 2007
Elle Decor Italia, 2007
Gatsby Magazine, January 2007
"Bits and Bytes"
Women's Wear Daily, June 2008
"The Power of a Good Idea"
Elle Brazil, March 08
"Bits and Bytes"
Crain's Chicago Business, September 17, 2007
Women's Wear Daily, June 13, 2007