Founded in 2011 by Renee Patron, the Banago brand was created to support and expand the livelihoods of artisan communities in the Philippines where she grew up.
"Seeing both my mother and grandmother work at home sewing clothes for the Los Angeles garment factories while they took care of my sisters and I at home, I understood the importance of the cottage industries and how they improve the lives of women."
After 15 years working in the fashion industry in Los Angeles, New York, Paris and Tokyo she felt it was time to return to her home in the Philippines and to use the knowledge and relationships she had gained to help people improve their lives.
Promoting their love of the centuries-old, but ailing, art of weaving and decorating grass and palm leaf mats, and aiming to empower women and support sustainable livelihoods in their home villages, she designs with them and teaches the importance of quality work and entrepreneurship. Today, Patron employs artisans in 50 villages to create mats that are then stitched into fabulous totes and clutches.
"We have been successful because we have stayed true to our belief that true luxury is having the ability to help.”