Filipino leather bag brands strive to deliver world-class quality products that every Pinoy can be proud of. Each piece lovingly created by Filipino artisans is made with excellent craftsmanship, passion, and hope for the industry.
Here are five Filipino leather bag brands that stand out the most because a good bag should be well-made, practical, and does not have to be designer.
Katre is the brainchild of Kat Erro and has been offering chic leathergoods for more than a decade. Katre bags intentionally do not have splashy logos and instead highlight the bag silhouette. Katre takes personalization a notch higher by offering not only the usual monogrammed initials but also phrases in foil-stamped handwritten monogram.
City Tote Classic is the bag that started it all for Katre. Roomy and perfect for daily grind – it can fit small laptops, all your essentals, and more.
A bag collection is not complete without the classic Doctor’s bag. The Kensington comes with a detachable strap for more wear options. Unlike popular zippered Doctors bag, the Kensington has a wide opening that allows easy, full access of its roomy interior and closes securely with a latch.
Katre offers a number of small leather goods (SLGs) and bespoke services.
2. Bags By Rubbertree
Bags by Rubbertree is widely known for its uncomplicated, utilitarian, and distinct clean silhouette. Ruben and Trina Flores of Rubbertree Design Studio painstakingly create mindfully designed pieces from hand-cut and hand-stitched leather. Bags by Rubbertree are purposely unlined to fully highlight the character of the leather material with androgynous designs for everyone.
The Day Pass bag is an iconic in-house design that shares the same features as the bigger Weekender bag. Designed for daily use, it has a top handle and a shoulder sling with easy rollup closure options. The Day Pass bag will definitely fit your work essentials and even all your essentials for a day out.
Bags by Rubbertree has a number of boxy messenger sling bags to choose from such as the Mighty Box which can double as a camera bag or a tool kit. The Mighty Box features a roomy interior that can fit bulky gadgets with three separate pockets for organization.
Bags by Rubbertree offers a wide range of SLGs and multi-function pieces such as the Little Cube and Errand Kit 2.
3. Fino Leatherware
Fino Leatherware is well known for its luxurious leather bags contrary to its early beginnings as a Christmas bazaar stall in the ’90s. Owner Rose Ann Bautista has managed to make the brand relevant for three decades despite challenging times. Fino has launched collections that take inspirations from local daily life – such as the Sipa and Puso bags.
The Vinta line showcases elements from the famed Philippine cultural icon of the same name. Colorful and bold patterns with playful lines are showcased on each design. The Vinta patterns are also a fixture on the recently launched Fino La Mascherina independent line of leather masks in time for the pandemic.
Fino utilizes a variety of textures from the usual grainy leather to the more exotic phyton, lizard, and croc embossed patterns. Fino offers a selection of essential SLGs including the ever-popular 6 key holder and card cases with several leather textures to choose from.
4. Ni Qua
Ni Qua is proudly local and hails from the the shoe and bag capital of the country – Marikina. A lifestyle label with a mission, Migs and Bunnie De Guzman are determined to showcase Filipino craftsmanship and advocate social responsibility by reducing leather wastage.
The Scarte Wristlet is a versatile bespoke piece that can carry essentials for special events and at the same time perfect for casual daily errands. A Bag with a Cause, this wristlet is a part of the Scarte collection where 50% of the proceeds go to the Real Life Foundation that provides scholarship to young Filipinos.
The Avanzo Scatola is an up cycled box bag made from genuine leather scraps. This spacious bag can be worn multiple ways as it comes with a top handle and a detachable strap. Ni Qua stays true to its mission with an expanded selection of items made with leather scraps such as basket organizers, ottoman, and throw pillows.
5. The Tannery Manila
The Tannery Manila is an institution in the local leather industry. Spanning four generations of tanners, the sister duo of Mariel and Macy Lazaro now steer the company to meet the demands of the modern Filipino consumers. Armed with extensive knowledge about leather making, The Tannery Manila has successfully transitioned from being suppliers to creating signature bag designs for the retail market.
The Allison is a roomy, chic boxy bag that can be worn multiple ways – top handle, shoulder, or sling, and comes in variations of rich neutral shades.
The Tannery Manila has a notable range of leather goods designed for men from bags to clutches and accessories. The Aaron is an all purpose backpack that proves adventurous can be stylish.
The The Tannery Manila also has an extensive accessories and SLG lines with novelty pieces such as knife bags and trays.
Proudly Local, made by Filipinos
Filipino leather bag brands make efforts to source high quality local materials all over the country and produce unique designs. Local leather handbags are excellent entry points for those who are serious to begin a leather bag collection.
Leather bags generally last longer than bags made of faux leather that are either PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride) or PU (Poly Utherane). Fast fashion brands typically carry faux leather bags that cost as much as local genuine leather bags. PVC or PU bags would often flake despite minimal use or even disintegrate when kept in storage due to humid conditions.
Trendy non-leather bags are usually priced at par with entry-level leather bags. Adding a little extra or waiting a few more weeks to allow your budget to afford a leather bag will definitely be worth it in the long run.
Your first big bag purchase should be local
Most fall into the trap of buying counterfeit designer bags simply because of budget constraints. Due to quality, labor, and ethical issues associated with anything counterfeit, it is never a sound choice to purchase counterfeited items. Save up wisely to afford the bag of your dreams or purchase the next best thing – a leather bag made by Filipino artisans. Doing so will not only allow you to experience the quality of a genuine leather handbag but also support and make our local market thrive.
This article is first of the DIP #LoveLocal Series. Click here for more brands that are proudly 100% Pinoy.
Official websites and Instagram pages of each brand indicated.