Reconnecting with the roots of handcrafted leather
The leather industry is embedded in Marikina’s history. Shoemaking, in particular, has been passed through generations since 1887, when Don Laureano Guevara first dissected and re-assembled his own pair of imported shoes. Since then, the local leather industry flourished, only to decline in the ’80s with the rise of globalization.
At present, the collated efforts of local brands, including Straightforward Clothing, aim to bring back the splendor of Marikina’s leather industry. In collaboration with local manufacturers, Straightforward introduces their Filipino Handcrafted collection. “The Filipino Handcrafted line aims to make age-old Filipino expertise fresh and relevant again, with the hope that it soon [sells] globally,” says Jerald Sze, founder of Straightforward. Filipino Handcrafted demonstrates the durability of locally made products, with their sneakers made of genuine cowhide leather and bags made of twill with manmade leather accents, all designed to never go out of style.
In a consumer culture where trends always matter, the local leather industry is slowly finding its way to becoming fashionable once more. Every step made in Straightforward’s sneakers and every item stored in their bags pave the way to the revival of Filipino leather craftsmanship and the discovery of new crafting possibilities.