10 Places to Shop Trendy Woven Bags in Manila
Weave solid style into your outfit with these local brands that make a difference.
(SPOT.ph) Handmade woven bags are all the rage these days, and it’s not without a good reason. The ones that have been making rounds on your Instagram feed are made of the familiar rustic materials—abaca, rattan, tikog—that probably bring to mind comforting childhood memories of picnic baskets or that trusty
This roundup also includes bags made of or accentuated with colorful woven fabrics that support local communities or showcase indigenous materials or weaving traditions from different parts of the country...or both. Now, the growing crop of homegrown brands that are all for using local materials and promoting sustainability is a “trend” we wouldn’t want to be passé.
The top-of-mind local brand championing eco-ethical fashion, Rags2Riches (R2R) believes in melding sustainability and style through collaborating with local artisans. On their website, you’d find not just impressively comprehensive product details but also a photo of the ate or kuya who lovingly made the bag you’re eyeing. Their classic designs showcase the signature R2R basket weave in full, such as the candy-colored Barco totes, or as a design detail, like the Casey Weekender Bag. Versions, the latest collection, features convertible bags with Binetwagan indigenous weave from Ilocos for the exterior pocket. The Maria Tote and Sling (P3,349) can be used as a trapezoid tote or sling bag.
“Let our bags take you to your dream vacation,” says Style Cat’s Instagram bio, which is very much evident in the motifs of their first collection. The hand-embroidered colorful toucan on Port Douglas with its matching raffia tassels is decidedly fun and festive. Santhiya, on the other hand, is a bit more on the coy side with its singular white daisy embroidery. Fancy something flirty? Turn to the pineapple-and-fringe decked Calaguas bag. Prices range from P1,799 to P2,399.
Style Cat is available online.
A little heartbreaking heads-up: Elinora makes limited pieces per design so there’s a big chance what you see here are no longer available. Better to follow them on Instagram for the latest releases. Our favorite? Their round Rebecca bags (comes in leaf, cactus, and flamingo designs) which you can use as a handbag or sling bag with its leather straps. They also have bigger totes adorned with either multi-colored raffia pom-poms (Deborah) or fringe (Sarah).
Elinora is available online.
Since 2014, Akaba Ltd. Design Co. has been in the business of coming up with high-quality travel and everyday bags that showcase indigenous hand-woven textiles, plus actively support and promote the loom weaving tradition of several weaving communities in the Philippines. As you carry an Akaba, you help carry on a wonderful tradition that really deserves to live on.
Akaba boasts an attractive lineup. Some of our picks: The Camino Knapsack in Blue Sinaluan (P4,200) with backstrap looms by the Yakan people of Basilan, the Isabela Tote Bag in Venetian Red Inabel (P2,000) by the Santos women weavers of Isabela, and the Gallardo Messenger Bag (P2,800) in Green Sinaluan.
Akaba is available online.
Designed by lifestyle blogger Kriz Uy, February offers a tight edit of dainty slings and totes with little quirky details that are sure to catch attention. “Ants in your Pants” (P2,800) is a round, striped sling made of Japanese straw, Philippine raffia, and resin—and yes, those are embroidered ants in single file. Meanwhile, another critter (lady bug!) stars in the “Be My Bug” Sling (P3,800) and “Let’s Get Lost” Tote (P5,800). The cute “In Your Face” sling is currently sold out, but do follow them on Instagram in case they restock. All February products are handmade in Cebu.
February is available online.
This brand’s irresistible rattan and wicker bags are polished enough to take to the office (just reserve the detachable colorful pom-pom bag charm for weekend dalliances). Go with the punchy Cobalt Blue Talitha Round Rattan Convertible Tote, the gorgeous Cate Box Rattan Tote, or the understated Sarika Barrel Rattan Crossbody Bag—each one will set you back by P4,200. Their bags are fully lined and come with detachable genuine leather straps (for the convertible styles) and the aforementioned bag charm. Stock is limited, so be sure to grab anything you fancy while available—or wait until they (hopefully) restock.
Cathy’s Bags is available online and at The Park Fashion + Lifestyle Store, Shangri-La Plaza Mall, Mandaluyong City.
The Cebu-based Island Girl is a brand of resort accessories inspired by nature and handcrafted by rural communities. Bright colors and symbols of summer (slippers and tropical fruits) are always present in their designs, whether it’s the large beach totes or pandan clutches. They also have a selection of hard clutches with pretty hand-embroidered designs. The casually chic Priya Round Shoulder Bag with detachable tassel in abaca rope, which had its debut at the recent ArteFino fair, deserves special mention.
Tip: The cute clutches (P595) under the Quote Collection would make a good, inexpensive present. Who wouldn’t cheer up unwrapping a gift that says “Live in the Sunshine?”
Island Girl is available online.
Each of Tali Handmade’s stunning bags is made of raw materials that are hand-woven to create kaleidoscope-like patterns using traditional crochet techniques. Behind these pieces are empowered women under the social enterprise started by Liza Crespo and Marielle de Leon-Lazaro to help female inmates of a city jail make a sustainable livelihood. The duo’s consistently vibrant designs—take, for instance, the round rainbow straw bags and the flamboyant Betit Fun Bags—are a fitting metaphor for the lives changed and hope seeded.
Tali Handmade is available online.
Vela Manila boasts a range of woven bags that narrates a compelling story. There’s the beautiful Santan Satchel (P2,300) made of abaca poly hemp, a naturally dyed abaca and polyester thread from Argao, Cebu. Its equally attractive sister, the Makahiya Satchel (P2,700) features the gold hand-woven silk fabric in collaboration with Ambension Silk—a social enterprise housed in the Gawad Kalinga Enchanted Farm, dedicated to revitalizing the silk textile industry in the Philippines through the use of organic Eri silk. The Backpack x Bayong Bag (P2,300), meanwhile, is inspired by the Daraghuyan Community’s vibrant and life-giving culture, with its abaca Pinagabol weave in different hues hand-woven by Daraghuyan tribe of Bukidnon. With such a meaningful story behind it (as opposed to an assembly-line kind of background), retail therapy regret would never be applicable in this case.
Vela Manila is available online.
Aranaz is an esteemed brand that remains faithful to its roots 18 years into the business. Becky Aranaz and daughters Amina and Rosanna have mastered the art of elevating native bags into pieces that are stunning enough to pique the interest of global fashion titles and stockists abroad. Collection after collection, they consistently manage to come up with delightful designs befitting lots of heart-eyed emoji. This season’s Calixta (white and yellow blooms), Odon (firefly and bug appliques), and Blue Bird are no exception.