Fashion, Featured

The Eco-Friendly Style-ution You Need To Add To Your Wardrobe

There’s a new it-girl bag in town and it’s backed by a sustainable cause!

When we hear of bags made from recycled plastics we might associate it with the bright woven tote bags made out of tetra packs and chip bags that started getting popular in the early 2000s.

However, the Marricola bags are far from those designs. You might not even know it was made from recycled plastics when you first see it.

In fact, you might have seen some influential names in Cebu toting these colorful bags around thinking they’re just another fashionable designer bag. Marriel Colaljo, the founder of Marricola brings a new and fashionable take to recycling plastics with her handsewn bags from heat-pressed recycled plastics.

Inspired beginnings

Marriel has always been fascinated by sourcing materials and this fueled her love for design.

As she pursued her studies, taking product design at the University of the Philippines (UP) Cebu, she nurtured this interest and funneled it toward causes close to her heart. One of those causes was the alleviation of plastic pollution in the Philippines.

For her 2017 undergraduate thesis, she conducted research on the pressed plastic material created in Bohol by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) volunteers. 

Her creative research received recognition from her university and the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) as well as immense support from various Filipino communities.

“We source our plastic from the community and from factories here in Cebu. We placed boxes where people can drop their used plastics and we collect them monthly when they’re full.”

After graduating, Marriel apprenticed under Cebuano designer, Kenneth Cobonpue, to further develop her design skills. She mainly worked with natural materials, fusing technology, and traditional techniques to create one-of-a-kind pieces.

In 2022, Marriel was chosen as a recipient of the Design-Entrepreneurship program by Kenneth Cobonpue and PLDT-Smart Foundation. This opportunity allowed her to transform her undergraduate thesis into a profitable business, leading to the birth of Marricola. 

If you haven’t noticed yet, Marricola is a portmanteau of the founder’s name, Marriel Colaljo. 

A truly unique style

The designs of Marricola’s bags are inspired by the humble buckets used in wells in the Philippines. These buckets are usually crafted from half a reused gallon, pieces of wood, and rope – practical materials scavenged to create a functional bucket to get water.

“The process of scavenging each component reveals our primal instinct. Our hunter-gatherer ancestors make their weapons and tools with materials from their immediate surroundings.” – Marriel Colaljo 

Likewise, Marricola is made by combining unlikely and locally found materials with high visual contrast to create a practical and functional design.

“Choosing a favorite is impossible because each one is different.”

Marricola’s bags celebrate this innate ingenuity of the Filipino spirit as they tackle a modern problemplastic pollution. 

Sourcing and processing the materials

The materials used for Marricola bags are sourced and processed locally.

“We source our plastic from the community and from factories here in Cebu. We placed boxes where people can drop their used plastics and we collect them monthly when they’re full.” – Marriel Colaljo

After collecting the pieces of plastic, they are sorted and cleaned. From here on, they are curated to create the patterns and colors that decide the approximate of what the bag would look like when finished.

Each bag has a unique design as its original plastic pieces come in different colors and styles – making the bags truly one-of-a-kind.

“Choosing a favorite is impossible because each one is different. So when I think I found a favorite, we make another one that beats it. It’s one of the things I like with our products, no two pieces are ever alike.” -Marriel Colaljo

More innovations to come

After the successful collection launch just last year and the warm reception of the Cebuano crowd for these bags, you can expect more coming from this brand.

Marricola has more innovations to come such as a future collection featuring large-sized bags/tote bags. 

“A lot of people have been asking for large bags for the beach.”

 To stay updated when they have a new launch or event, you can follow them on Instagram as @marricola_ph. 

Photography Kyrra Kho | HMUA Nestee Acla | Location Nest Workspaces

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