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.

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