|Firemarkers sells products using firefighting remnants, such as discarded firehoses. Besides these fire remnants made products, Firemarkers also sell fashion products with messages relating related to firefighting printed on them. Photo provided by Firemarkers.|
Like any other, this fashion brand makes bags and other clothing items. However, the materials they stack in their studios to make their products is far from ordinary. Instead of using conventional fabric or leather, discarded fire hoses are the main material used by Firemarkers.
Firemarkers is a fashion brand that mainly sell products related to firefighting. They will print messages on fashion items, make bags out of fire remnants, and in many other ways integrate firefighting into fashion. Their slogan is “Carry the firefighter,” and as it suggests. The company aims to support Korean firefighters. This social enterprise, and successful company earned 100 million won just in the first half of this year.
Lee Gyu-dong, head of the Firemarkers, first came to the idea of his company while reading current Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon’s book, 1000 jobs that change the world. He was agonizing over what to kind of company to establish at an early age and found a British firm that uses discarded fire hoses to make bags.
“My father is also a firefighter, and a company of the sort was unheard of in Korea,” Lee said. “I thought this could be something that I could manage.”
He named his company Firemarkers, as in to ‘leave a mark.’ The word “markers” signifies people who leave their marks in the world. Furthermore, because Firemarkers uses discarded fire hoses from the firefighters, it also means using the traces of these firefighters.
In addition to selling his products, Lee has been supporting firefighters in many other ways as well. Firemarkers has supervised many projects, such as the Firefighter Fashion Shows. As it was his first time organizing such an event, and he was no expert on fashion shows, he went through many trial and errors. However, this gave him the opportunity to build experience in supporting a wide array of firefighters.
“These projects are very effective in improving recognition towards firefighters,” Lee said. “The fashion show that was open to the public, became a place for communication between the citizen and fire fighters.”
Furthermore, Firemarkers opened other projects to help firefighters’ works. One of the main projects, “The miracle of Moses,” first started with Hearbeat, a reality television show where celebrities worked at the 119 headquarters. The miracle of Moses was a project that educated citizens to make way for ambulances by putting stickers on the ambulance’s back window that was written “ambulance first.”
“We heard from people that it is hard for them to know exactly how to let an ambulances pass through in congested situations,” Lee said. “Therefore, we improved the stickers on car windows with precise instructions written on them.”
Firemarker further plans to make safety boxes or disaster bags that contain emergency supplies to be used in natural disasters. In these ways, Lee and his team not only keep up with the latest fashion trends, but also provide practical help in securing public safety. Lee designed this emergeny package because he realized that people do not understand emergency situations properly. Even though it could be treated within citizen’s care, many people overly rely on emergency calls.
“Firefighters stress more from the ill treatment from the public or their unsufficient safety consciousness than the lack of facilities,” Lee pointed out. “Therefore, we are planning to make these safety boxes to augment each individuals’ safety.”
Firemarkers’ ultimate goal is to infuse the public with a sense of safety. Beyond becoming just another fashion company, Firemarkers is making efforts raise the public’s safety consciousness, and make various products related to public safety.
“We are now planning to improve citizen’s safety consciousness rather than supporting firefighters on only one side. We think the true meaning of firefighting comes from citizens,” Lee told Ewha Voice. “Therefore, even if our acts are a mere drop in the ocean, we would always send messages to the public through our work.”
Lee Joo-ah firstname.lastname@example.org