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Style Cat taps 'persons deprived of liberty' to produce beaded bags

Style Cat, a resort brand mindfully creating stylish bags and swimwear, has collaborated with Manila City Jail to produce lovely beaded bags using locally sourced renewable resources.

Mindful of finding diverse communities and tapping local artisans with hopes of connecting them to a wider market, Style Cat founder and young entrepreneur Yuki Tansengco-Higson was impressed when she saw at the Manila City Jail’s visitor’s area a cabinet of products with a sign “Bili Mo, Tulong Mo.” 

Style Cat taps prisoners to produce beaded bags

Behind the glass was a selection of beaded vases, bears and small pouches. The jail facility continuously makes livelihood programs for their community of persons deprived of liberty who are finding ways to produce income while inside the facility.

This inspired Higson to partner with the Manila City Jail. “It was months in the works—from sampling to design execution. Style Cat has received full support from the Welfare and Development Section of Manila City Jail-Male Dormitory to bring you these beautiful handmade wooden bags. It was difficult at the beginning because we had to tweak their products [from bears and vases] and inject a modern fashion context to make trendy bags. Each bag is creatively beaded by PDLs to showcase their talent and at the same time, empowering them and making them part of the supply chain,” says Higson. 

The livelihood partnership aims to promote the skills and creativity of the Manila City Jail community—one bag at a time. “We expanded their product range and the talented artisans now produce trendy beaded bags with striking patterns in lively colors.”

Style Cat taps prisoners to produce beaded bags

These bags are under what Higson calls “Freedom Collection.” The beautifully designed and crafted bags include Pienza, a rustic dark green lightweight and sleek bucket bag perfect for weddings and countryside adventures; Marina, made of hand-carved wooden beads with an easy carry-on shoulder straps; Vezelay, a functional hand-beaded shoulder bag in classy black and white perfection; and Venice, a bucket bag with a striking chevron pattern, top beaded handle and detachable leatherette sling.

The products also include Cassis, in cool blue hues that can be styled with  a sling or with its beaded top handle for any poolside attire and warm-weathered getaway; and Mirmande, top handle beaded bag in black and white checkered pattern with fully lined bag interior with a drawstring enclosure.

Topics: Style Cat , Manila City Jail , beaded bags , renewable resources
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