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Joe Sibayan

In designing R-U-A’s first bag, we created a balance between function and form. We wanted it to be sturdy but at the same time good-looking. We began with the idea of creating a utilitarian bag, one that can support a significant volume and weight. We chose a thick canvas material that provided the bag with a gorgeous color, a resilient surface, and a flexible shape. The body of the bag is sewn by an atelier of a family based in Bulacan—a mother and son sewing team. 

For the handles, we used cow leather that was sewn and then riveted on to the canvas. We collaborated with Igmidio and Leonidez—a local, family-based leathersmith from Marikina with a long history in leather in designing the leather handles. Here’s the story of Igmidio and Leonidez: 

“To this day, the scent of leather takes cousins Reagan and Malaya back to their childhood. Their grandparents, Igmidio and Leonidez, were both shoemakers—they owned the R Shoes brand and had a factory located in Malanday, Marikina. Reagan's father was a shoemaker, and Malaya's parents made bags, coin purses, leather key holders. Reagan and Malaya grew up seeing their family members completely engrossed—and in love—with the craft. It's a craft they intend to revive, restore. Reagan and Malaya, the eldest of the grandchildren, built the Igmidio and Leonidez brand as a homage to their family and their legacy. Working alongside another expert leather artisan, Reagan and Malaya are nostalgically and beautifully making leather products from their humble home in Marikina.” (write-up shared by Igmidio and Leonidez)

At R-U-A, we love working with and helping build passionate home-based local makers.