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This local fashion brand is all about sustainability


In April, a representative from celebrity stylist Kate Young’s office reached out to Therinne Goyeneche asking for samples of INNÉ items, which she readily sent.

When she didn’t hear any update from Young’s office, Therinne "thought they decided not to use the bags anymore.” 

Six months later, in October, photos of actress Margot Robbie surfaced online. She is clad in a mocha shirt dress and tan boots, carrying an INNÉ Sia Shopper tote.

“It was definitely a delightful surprise, one that I consider a major milestone for INNÉ,” says Therinne of her brand’s Hollywood brush with fame.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Margot Robbie wearing our Sia Shopper Tote in Tan ???? Styled by @kateyoung

A post shared by I N N É (@innestudios) on

 

Passion project

INNÉ, which means “innate,” “inborn,” and “natural” in French, began in 2017 as a means to further promote local fashion products that make use of natural materials found in the Philippines. There was the rattan, abaca, and jute, among many others, of which Therinne recognized the many possibilities.

She had a background in marketing and product development, but no formal training in fashion design. What she had was a desire to build a slow-fashion brand that champions local materials and Filipino talents. 

INNÉ’s products are made of durable materials — think abaca, rattan, and raffia — which are sourced from Bicol, Laguna, Cebu, and Bohol.

To add flair and more character, other equally long-lasting materials are incorporated in the design. The best-selling Sia Tote, for instance, is made of rattan and high-quality cowhide leather; the Selena Slides are a made of raffia and lambskin leather accented with natural shells such as kabibi and black lip. 

Working with INNÉ are partner artisan communities and small families from Bicol, Cebu, Bohol, Marikina, Bulacan, and Laguna. They have their own skillset and expertise, depending on the region and the raw material that region is known for. 

“We aim to support fair trade and ethical practices, and to provide livelihood opportunities by partnering with small families and communities,” Therinne elaborates.

“We make sure that artisans are well compensated for their craft, good and safe working conditions are in place, and there are opportunities for growth and empowerment through skills and capabilities development.”

Natural order of things

A solihiya lounge chair inspired the Sia Shopper Tote, INNÉ’s maiden design.

Solihiya is made of thin strips of rattan woven into a sunburst pattern (six-way weave). It’s one of the more popular weaves used for furniture design during the Spanish Colonial era, and had been a staple in the Filipino household.

Says Therinne, “Incorporating this weave into our pieces is like carrying a part of your childhood or home with you wherever you go.”

Solihiya has seen a welcome revival in the recent years not only in the world of interior design but also in the fashion industry. In fact, last October’s Manila FAME focused the spotlight on world-class pieces made of this distinctive weave. It’s no surprise, then, that customers want to get their hands on INNÉ bags and footwear that feature solihiya.

Variations of the Sia bag, like the Sia Clutch and Two-way Tote, flew off the virtual shelves.

Footwear incorporating similar designs are also a hit: the Liria Double Strap Heels, Tala and Sinta Double Strap Slides, and Lola Solihiya Mules. Other bestsellers include the Maria Mules, Ava Sandals, Tania 2-strap Heels, and Sola Multi Bag — all made of handwoven abaca fiber. Home accessories in hand-dyed abaca, such as baskets and placemats, are also sold out in the website.

Just recently, INNÉ launched its holiday collection, the star of which is the Forma Limited Series: structured bags made of rattan and buntal framed in leather. The collection also features flat and heeled shoes made of raffia and leather, which make for classy wardrobe staples, even after the holidays.

The future is local

It may be a young brand, but INNÉ has been very active in promoting not only its products but also its advocacy. Two years ago, it was just an online store among the many other virtual shops on the Internet. Now, it boasts various stockists here and abroad.

Through its partner Stride Collective, an online community of Marikina-made footwear, INNÉ also became part of Manila FAME and ArteFino. Therinne adds, “We have been very fortunate to be able to partner with groups such as Seek The Uniq and Katutubo Pop-up Market early on when our brand was just starting. They have been vital in expanding our brand’s awareness and reach.”

While these are all wonderful achievements, Therinne — and the entire community behind the brand she built — are not resting on their laurels. There is a continuous effort to explore more natural and sustainable materials that can be used for new designs. Weaving dynamic partnerships with more local communities will always be part of the brand’s identity.

Customers can also expect INNÉ to be present in more seasonal pop-ups. And as Therinne envisions the brand to cater to a more international market, its mission will always remain sacrosanct: “[To] create pieces that allow you to see, feel, and carry a part of a place and people.” — LA, GMA News

 

 

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