Multi-awarded Filipino couturier Oliver Tolentino designed the bags and the women of Payatas crafted them. They fall under the label Makulay collection, the latest in the designer lin-up of social enterprise Rags2Riches. Previous collaborations were with Rajo Laurel and Amina Aranaz.
The bags look beautiful…. who would ever think they’re made from scrap clothing and indigenous materials? They’re certainly timely for summer, and beyond! Here are some of my favorites:
Nothing looks whimsical than a fringe bag with wooden handle. Retaso (cuttings) will never look so unwelcome again.
I found this to be the most elegant-looking of the bunch. A combination of crochet piping and button accents. Knowing RIIR’s profit for a good cause, why mind spending from three to five thousand on a bag when you know it can benefit an underprivileged sector of society, the urban poor women of Payatas, once the largest dumpsite in Quezon City?
The designer in person.
L.A.-based Pinoy Oliver Tolentino has gained considerable international success dressing up Hollywood celebrities attending the Oscars, Golden Globe and other red carpet events. Among the awards he has garnered are the Designer of the Week for Fashion Week El Paseo in Palm Springs, California and winner of the Sustainable Eco fashion Award during the 2010 Islands of the World Fashion Week in the Bahamas.
Tolentino said he has stood out from the rest because of his decision to stand for eco or sustainable fashion. At the same time, he gets to promote the unique fabrics that are local or indigenous to the Philippines.
“I’ve met with the Fiber Industry Development Authority (FIDA) and the Department of Trade and Industry in Kalibo to discuss ways to promote the industries of Lumban and Aklan so that our wonderful skills continue for the next generation. I worked with FIDA for my fashion show in the Bahamas where I won an award. I’ve also had a dramatic Maria Makiling-inspired pina terno tour Geneva, Milan, Singapore and Hong Kong. This gown was featured as the finale at a United Nations fashion show and was given two pages in Hong Kong Tatler Magazine. Anna Maria Perez de tagle sang at the Ronald Reagan 100th birthday celebration in a pina dress before Nancy Reagan, Dick Cheney and hundreds of US congressmen,” Tolentino said.
He added that it didn’t take long for him to collaborate with Rags2Riches for a worthwhile project. His inspiration for the Makulay collection was joy and hope.
” I wanted the women making the bags, who may feel they live in a grey world, to work with beautiful, cheerful colors. I designed with texture in mind and created different shapes so each bag would be interesting. I wanted them to stand out from the typical brown, tan, black handbags. I hope they will be conversation starters and confident women will happily and proudly share the RIIR story behind the bags,” the designer averred.
Well said and well-done Mr. Tolentino! Now all we have to do is order…
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