The brainchild of FIDM grad and fashion industry insider Renee Patron, Banago is an accessories newcomer whose bold pieces demand notice. Recently featured in Vogue, Lucky and Elle Japan, Banago's offerings are gaining global attention not just for their stellar design, but also for their unique back story. Expertly crafted by Filipino artisans, Banago pieces include patterns inspired by the ancient body-painting traditions of the tattooed Pintados warriors.
What was your inspiration to launch Banago?
I launched Banago in June 2011 after a trip visiting my parents and my ill grandmother. I met the artisan weavers and embroiderers in the local towns not too far from where they live and learned about the process and how it took an entire industry of workers to make just one mat.
I also realized I found something that I could rework and design into different products, while helping the local communities. It was not only a beautiful art and craft but it was also something I could design that was something very close to who I am as a designer and where my roots are from.
How does your design process work?
We take the wild grass base mats either in natural or dyed colors and bring them to our embroiderers and give them the pattern designs and color ways to embroider dyed palm leaf into the base mats. Sometimes I will give them inspirational photographs of colors and shapes and they mock up embroidered patterns for me.
Once we finalize the embroidery pattern they complete the design on an entire 6 x 5 ft mat and we take these mats to our sewers, pattern makers and make them into bags, storage boxes, other home accessories, laptop and ipad cases. The possibilities are almost endless with Banago because I treat the mats like a textile and apply it to whatever works for the materials it is made of.
What is on your mood board?
My travel photos, beaches, the ocean, waves, surf, islands, birds of paradise- my grandfathers favorite, Pucci patterns, pantone color cards and so many of them because we have so many color combinations of embroidery pattern work.
Which is your favorite piece from your collection?
My favorite piece from the collection would be the new envelope clutches. I made the size of our clutches bigger so that the embroidery patterns were more visible and you can fit so much in them too, I actually throw my ipad in it.
What is next for Banago?
I think what?s next for Banago are collaborations with existing big brands and designers. I have been getting a lot of interest from some amazing people. But I am being selective so that we stay on the right path and the collaborations make sense for what we are about with Banago. You will be seeing some of these design collaborations for Spring Summer 2013.