Fashionably Sustainable: Filipino Owned Brand Creates Sustainable Bags

A Belgium-manufactured brand owned by a Filipino creates bags with grape leather.

Bags will always be a fashion statement. Nowadays, bags of different shapes and sizes are seen as arm candy for those who want to combine functionality and style simultaneously. Famous bags that are often seen in the arms of different people and the windows of boutiques are usually made of leather. From the famous lambskin of Chanel to the durable Togo leather of Hermès, leather from different animals is often used to create bags that celebrate the artistry and craftsmanship of brands. 

In recent years, alternative forms of leather have been made to echo further the call for sustainability and veganism in the field of fashion. With veganism and sustainability in mind, a brand in Belgium started by a Filipino is on the rise with its grape-leather bags. The brand “Lubay” is vegan and eco-friendly in Belgium and was named in honor of the founder’s Kalinga background. 

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Purely Sustainable 

Lubay prides itself on being purely sustainable and environmentally friendly since its launch in 202. “Lubay’s mission has been to create aesthetic and sustainable bags and accessories, designed and manufactured in Belgium without any material of animal origin and having the lowest possible environmental impact while respecting animals, humans, and the planet” according to the brand. Aside from the materials used, the brand also seeks sustainability by choosing where its bags are manufactured. 

Photo via

To ensure full sustainability, every part of the bag is made with sustainable materials. The grape skin leather the brand used for the bags is made in northern Italy from waste from wine production. From the recovery of the raw materials to the usage of vegetable dye for the leather color, the brand made conscious efforts for sustainability. Aside from the leather, even the lining for the bags is manufactured in Europe and is made with 100% cotton. 

Aside from the materials and manufacturing, the brand’s constant pursuit of finding the best sustainable products and strategies allows the company to avoid animal leather and its impact. The brand’s strategy is to avoid overproduction and work on what’s in demand. “We are the antithesis of “fast-fashion” and do not offer seasonal collections, such as “summer 2023”, nor winter or summer sales,” according to the brand. 

Roots of sustainability 

Behind the sustainable brand is a Filipino born in the Philippines but was adopted to Belgium at six months old. Soho Francotte, before becoming the brains behind Lubay, studied philosophy and drabbled in teaching for a while. After being in the academe, she worked in the creative side and became a musician and a press officer and tour organizer. 

Photo courtesy of Lubay

She said that it is during her tenure in the music field that she questioned the place of ethics in the process of manufacturing clothing and fashion accessories, and  animal exploitation. Alongside with “The relocation of know-how to Belgium, as well as my desire to create and manufacture aesthetic and timeless accessories,” she said. 

WIth the arrival of COVID in March 2020, musical tours and promotions were put into a halt. Wanting to remain creative, she began to design the first prototypes and launched a crowdfunding. “From this seed was born Lubay, a vegetable “leather goods” brand, based on veganism, ethics and eco-responsibility,” Lubay states.

Banner image via Instagram @lubay.belgique.

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