Koskela and Qantas launch new in-flight amenities bags to support First Nations artists

If you’re flying Qantas business class later this year, take a closer look at your free toiletries bag. For the first time ever, Koskela is partnering with Australia’s national carrier to launch a range of sustainable amenities kits. And all proceeds are going to support First Nations artists. Koskela co-founder Sasha Titchkosky explains. 

In 2018 Qantas approached Koskela and floated the idea of a collaboration. They needed some new amenities kits for their business class passengers, and they wanted them to be beautifully made, sustainable, and to support First Nations artists. These are the sort of commercial client briefs you dream of.  

As a B Corp with a long history of collaborating with Indigenous communities, we were only too happy to help. It took a few years, but today we’re incredibly excited to announce that the project has finally come to fruition. Koskela’s new amenities bags will be available to Qantas business class passengers from August 2023.

There are four bags in the collection, each crafted from cotton and water-resistant, recyclable paper, with minimal plastic on the inside. The tabs and patches are made from vegan leather. We even managed to convince Qantas to move away from plastic toothbrushes and other waste, although the kits themselves unfortunately still have to be wrapped in plastic (for transport and storage reasons).

We’re very selective about who we partner with. We know some climate-concerned folks might wonder what we’re doing partnering with an airline – and you’d be right to – but we believe this is a brilliant platform and opportunity for us to showcase Indigenous art while raising awareness and funding for First Nations artists.

Qantas is Australia’s national airline, and it’s great to see them partnering with local B Corps and focusing more on sustainability. This is how industries change: through collaboration and sharing knowledge and skills. Acknowledging that you can always do things better, and that perfection is the enemy of good. It’s another of the reasons we wanted to engage in this particular partnership.

Yet another reason was publicity. But not for Koskela. We wanted to spread the B Corp message to a wider, more business-savvy audience who might not have come across the term before. Inside each bag is a little Koskela brochure, where business class passengers can learn more about our mission, and what being a B Corp is all about.

Who knows? Through this partnership, we might be able to influence other organisations to join the B Corp family and start their own sustainability journey. 

The Qantas kits will be available for 18 months, beginning in August 2023. For the work, Koskela receives a licensing fee, which we’re passing on – in full – to Jacinta Lorenzo, the Tiwi artist whose design features on one of the bags.

I’m Jacinta Lorenzo, and I love doing artwork and painting. My totem is turtle and my Country is near Garden Point and Putjamirra. I am a Tiwi woman and I live on the Tiwi Islands.

It is such great news to me that my designs are going to be on the Qantas bags. It makes me happy and I am very proud. I’m proud of Jilamara mob for helping me. It is very lovely for people to see Tiwi art and how we paint with ochres from Country, it makes me proud to be a Tiwi artist. Maybe when they see these bags they will want to learn more about Tiwi culture and art. It will look nice on the bag too.

I mostly paint designs when they come to me. Some of the design we use for ceremony, it depends on what they are dancing at that time. I just love to sit down and paint, we all paint different ways on the Tiwi Islands so that is very good. Thank you for this opportunity.

– Jacinta Lorenzo, Jilamara Arts and Crafts Association 2023

This project has been an exciting one for us. It’s a chance for Australia’s biggest airline to support First Nations artists and local manufacturers, reduce waste, and champion Indigenous design, all at the same time. Opportunities like that don’t come along every day.