Ten years ago, we were introduced to creativity and resourcefulness like no other. We were introduced to a business venture that proved the possibility of having a business that is doing well and doing good at the same time.
Rags2Riches is a fashion brand that sells beautifully-woven bags and accessories by women that reside by the Payatas dump in Quezon City and other poverty-stricken cities.
It is one of the few brands in the Philippines that is not only committed to fashion and style, but also to providing a better livelihood to struggling Filipinos by providing them job opportunities that extend far beyond their community’s reach.
Last Saturday, the brand celebrated its 10 years by holding an exhibit in one of its partner hotels, Shangri-la Makati. I was very privileged to be invited as one of the influencers to promote the brand. The narrative alone of how the brand started and what it stands for already attracted me to attending the event, but I must say the products did not disappoint when I saw them.
Rajo Laurel, one of my favorite local designers, was the brand’s partner in creating their latest bags. He was there during the event to not only celebrate the company’s 10th year, but also to promote the latest collection he created with the brand.
The Payatas weavers were also in the exhibit so people could meet the makers behind the wonderful eco-ethical bags that has received a staggering uptrend in demand, both in the Philippines and abroad, since its launch in 2007.
I personally enjoyed the organic interaction I was able to have with the local artisans. I had a really good time listening to their stories and how the job the product has offered them turned their lives around.
I ended up buying at least 5 bags during the event, which I normally would’ve felt bad about. But since it’s for a great cause, I didn’t mind splurging the entire day.
I also met the founder of the brand, Reese Fernandez-Ruiz, and was inspired by her story of how a small livelihood project idea that she had in college grew into a platform for local artisans to get out of poverty and get recognized in the fashion scene.
The experience was truly unlike any other. I have never felt so proud to be a part of a brand and be one of its ambassadors.