Last week, this Kickstarter campaign pitch landed in my inbox. Intrigued by the obviously Filipino word 'Banago' (pronounced ba-NAH-go), I clicked the email open and was immediately drawn in by the vibrant color and modern style of what I knew to be traditional Filipino straw bags. Founder Renée Patron graciously took time out of her busy New York Fashion Week schedule last week to hop on the phone with me and satiate more of my curiosity around Banago.
Banago was a flourishing accessories brand whose factory had been leveled during Typhoon Haiyan. Renée began teaching weavers, mostly women, to become self-employed business owners and to work within the safety of their own homes. Before Haiyan, Banago grew to help provide for the livelihood of over 400 artisans, who became leaders in their communities. Renée herself is a veteran of the fashion industry, with experience in everything from design to production to distribution. Her solid reputation helped land Banago's high-quality, high-fashion bags on the shelves and in pages of Nordstrom, Anthropologie, J.Crew, Vogue, Lucky Magazine and more.
Watch Renée tell the full Banago story here:
It's just too rare to see a Filipino shine in any industry, even as we've found ourselves in virtually every corner of the world. Renée's hard work cemented Banago's place in all of these retailers and magazines, and for that I admire her.
I want to help Renée and her team restore their factory, their homes and their lives that were destroyed by Haiyan, and hope you do too. The Pintados bag is about to be the 'It' bag of the season 'round these parts!