Will we ever bring out our bags again? I ask myself as I stow away my totes, slings and backpacks.
“The tote (or clutch or saddle bag) seems a relic of ages past, gathering dust in bedroom corners and closet shelves. But is this a permanent change in our wardrobe? Or will the bag live again?” asks writer Lou Stoppard in The New York Times.
On a lighter note, she notices a new need for functional bags like the sturdy supermarket canvas tote and the trusty backpack for those who occasionally venture out to do necessary tasks. Flashback to all of us debating what will be the death of the micro bag trend: a pandemic that’s what.
The challenge now is to rethink the function—and subsequently the design—of a bag to fit the “moment.” Of course, we are going to need a bag for doing groceries and running errands once a week (ideally).
For Iloilo-based designer Jorel Espina, this means incorporating an element inherent to his brand’s DNA while also making a bag durable for everyday tasks. Known for his contemporary usage of barong and other traditional Filipino clothing motif, his new bag features an intricate hand-embroidered barong Tagalog of Lumban artisans safely encased in a layer of transparent PVC film.
Reminiscent of Comme des Garçons’ brown PVC-encased kraft bag totes released a few years back but with an equally delicate traditional barong Tagalog embroidery done in jusi fabric, the creation is wittily named “bayong Tagalog.”
More than its interesting use of barong motif, the bayong is also a collaboration between artisans of Laguna and craftsfolk in Iloilo, where the bag is assembled.
“As part of our brand DNA, we honor barong Tagalog by making it a functional yet essential piece,” says Espina.
The bag measures 18 by 16 inches and retails for P9,500. Available to order through Jorel Espina’s Instagram page.
Header image courtesy of Jorel Espina
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Writer: CHRISTIAN SAN JOSE
ART LEVENSPEIL SANGALANG