These Stylish Bags Were Once Part Of An NFL Stadium

The roof of the Indianapolis Colts’ old stadium was once a wonder of engineering. Today, you might find it in a messenger bag or wallet.

Plenty of sports arenas end up destined for the wrecking ball just a few decades after they were built. But before the Indianapolis Colts’ home of 25 years, the RCA Dome, was demolished, locals decided to make use of what remained. The seats? Turned into bus stop benches or chairs for public parks. The Teflon-coated fiberglass roof? That was transformed into shades for a bus stop. And the voluminous roof fabric, vinyl banners, and fence wrap? It was sewn into adorable messenger bags, wallets, and clutches.


These projects were all the work of the Indianapolis-based nonprofit People for Urban Progress (or PUP), as CityLab recently reported. Founded in 2008 by Michael Bricker, who wanted to repurpose the fabric from the roof of the soon-to-be-torn-down stadium, the organization’s mission is to make “goods that fund the good” from materials recycled from the city itself. The fabrics that would have ended up in a landfill instead became the canvas for local designers.

Many of PUP’s products for sale are made from the RCA/Hoosier Dome’s roof (they’ve used 13 acres of it since 2008), as well as fabric and vinyl from the 2012 Super Bowl (of which they’ve used five miles of fabric). For example, many of the nonprofit’s first offering–a messenger bag–utilize the white of the RCA Dome itself as well as colorful Super Bowl XLVI banners for a pop of color. Some of the bags’ names reference their athletic past: drawstring bags are called “Referees,” the weekenders are “Commissioners,” and their special item on offer at the moment is the “Gameday Clutch,” which comes in “Security” and “Spectator” styles. The best part? The Gameday Clutches are “regulation size” for Lucas Oil Stadium–which replaced the old arena–meaning they’re designed according to the arena’s bag size rules and are perfect for a Sunday football outing.

Proceeds go to funding the organization’s initiatives, including pop-up shops showcasing the goods of local designers and artists, community spaces, and an upcoming store of repurposed fabrics that will open to the public later this year.

[Photos: PUP]

About the author

Katharine Schwab is an associate editor at Co.Design based in New York who covers technology, design, and culture.