Filipino-made bags carry environmental statements

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By Anna Valmero

MAKATI CITY, METRO MANILA— Green is the new black. This is the fashion statement and environmental awareness being promoted by Yadu bags among Filipino ‘fashionistas’.

A sense of style is not only inspired by unique prints but the conscious choice to re-use old fabrics to make unique patchworks for eco-friendly bags, said Yadu co-owner Corrine Ching.

“What sets apart the bags that we make is the story behind the recycled materials used to make them,” Corrine said.

Corrine added that “every bag is a mobile representation of our wonder and appreciation for the interlocking stories we all live.”

“Like the different patches on each piece, our creative tribe is living a thousand different stories simultaneously, here and now,” added Corrine.

Yadu is the evolution of pioneer local bag manufacturer Khumbela in the 1990s, she explained.

Veering away from the traditional bags and apparel manufacturing that uses imported materials, business owner and “master designer” Edwin “Yadu” Saulo (or simply Yadu) embarked to use quirky patchworks from old clothes, both personal and often, bought from ukay-ukay shops, to make patchwork-like designs that celebrate the personality of each bag owner and to form “a community promoting goodness among Filipinos,” said Corrine.

When the business was starting months ago, each sewer in Yadu’s Makati factory can finish up to four bags in a day depending on the complexity of the design.

Today, they have increased their production rates to up to ten bags each day, again depending on the customization required by bag designers Mimi Sanson, Jeff Gonzalez and Elaine Bobadilla.

The bags carry a story about the sort of “reconstruction of old clothes,” and each Yadu bag is 50 to 100 percent recycled and uses an average of ten different recycled fabrics, except for the zippers and straps that are new, said Corrine.

The bag sizes and colors vary and unlike bags from traditional manufacturers, no two bags sold at Yadu are alike. Walk the two-floor jungle to see how each of the designer shoulder bags, belt bags, yoga bags, sling body bags and even the unassuming coin purse are made unique to suit every personality.

Targeting the upper middle class clients, small bags cost from P700 a piece while backpacks and laptop bags can cost between P2,500 and P4,000. Bestsellers include the reversible body bag that sells up to ten bags a day. All items are also available at Bratpack stores in SM malls.

“The beauty of each bag lies in its ability to synchronize beauty from different fabrics and its value as an eco-friendly item. Customers with old clothes can have them used for their customized bags,” she added.

For 2011, Corrine said they are eying to tap local weavers to preserve the dying craft of traditional weaves and dying techniques in the Philippines. This way, the group can also promote the culture of different tribes such as the weavers of T’boli’s tinalak in Cebu and the pinilian, binakol and kiniri weaves of Abra women.

(Additional photos courtesy of Yadu)

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