West Virginia native Leah Levy, 22, has found her niche, Levity Hammocks and Swings. The industrial designer has had the brilliant idea of turning old parachute canopies into a variety of items, such as, bags, bracelets, chairs, hammocks, and swings, among others.
Levy, who has a tremendous love of nature, founded Levity Hammocks and Swings as an extension of her passion for skydiving. She fell in love with the sport when she was a young girl after a family friend decided to make her first tandem jump at the age of 70. As she waited to turn 18, she saved 10% of every waitressing paycheck in a shoebox under her bed.
Once her mom found the box, Levy confessed that her dream was to go skydiving. Her mom agreed to join the challenge and the rest is skydiving history. The designer started collecting parachutes last summer after she realized that these canopies would end up in a landfill after years of taking part in a life-altering experience.
She then decided to immortalize these lightweight, ripstop nylon parachutes by giving them a new life. After taking part in an internship with United Parachute Technologies in DeLand where she learned how to sew and design patterns, she decided to make a hammock for herself from her collection of parachutes.
She took her idea to Virginia Tech where she created an independent study around her craft. It evolved into her senior thesis after she convinced her professors to support her concept. She researched starting a parachutes manufacturing business, now Levity Hammocks and Swings, from the ground up and then expanded her idea to discover how to reinvent retired parachutes.
Levy’s first prototypes for Levity Hammocks and Swings were miniatures and designed to fit her roommate’s pet rats. Her original hammock idea evolved into a hammock chair and then a pocket swing. She reuses all parts of the parachute in her designs, from the canopy to the lines to the hardware.
The designs, however, go above and beyond simply repurposing old parachutes. Levy is careful to document the backstory of every canopy. Some have belonged to friends, others have been used in the military. She attempts to incorporate each parachute‘s history into its newly invented form, thereby ensuring its legacy lives on.
This past June, Levy launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise $25,000 in order to establish her brand, Levity Hammocks and Swings. So far, she has received support from people in the US, Singapore, Australia, Russia and Cambodia. Who knows, perhaps your skydiving parachute will be immortalized by Levy in the future. If you’re planning on making your first jump or want more information on skydiving visit Skydiving.com.
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