Meet R2R, the Philippine Brand That Turns Scraps into Fashion Statements
It’s a social enterprise that’s founded on sustainability
An acknowledged forerunner of social entrepreneurship in the Philippines, Rags2Riches was established in 2007 by then 22-year old Reese Fernandez-Ruiz as a way to help the women weavers of Payatas out of poverty, first by turning unwanted fabric into woven rugs and eventually into bags. Payatas was the largest solid waste dumpsite in Metro Manila before its closure in 2000 after tragedy struck. It is home to millions of indigent families.
Today, Rags2Riches products are acclaimed worldwide and have been featured in many online platforms including Vogue, CNN, The Guardian, and Anthropologie.
certain sense of playfulness permeates each carefully handcrafted item that Rags2Riches produces. Perhaps this is a direct result of its commitment to using stock overruns and upcycled fabrics in its fashion line. Working with what others would consider “scraps,” Rags2Riches transcends the usual design processes to come up with items that marry style and sustainability in the truest sense.
Strength to Strength
Since then, the fashion brand has only grown by leaps and bounds. WIth equal dedication from its artisans, Rags2Riches is now a full-blown fashion and design house with its own clothing and home accessories lines. Aside from upcycling materials that are otherwise destined for landfills, it also incorporates indigenous fabrics into its many joyful items.
Taking Care of One’s Own
Including the original Payatas community, Rags2Riches is currently working with eight urban communities across Metro Manila. It employs more than 250 people, 200 of which are artisans.
Aside from gainful employment, the trailblazing fashion company provides financial and health training. It has co-developed an artisan academy and established a savings and micro-insurance program. For the way it has embodied social entrepreneurship, Rags2Riches has received numerous accolades around the globe. Among these is Fernandez-Ruiz being named as one of Forbes’ 20 Social Entrepreneurs Under 30 in 2015.
Discover more from Rags2Riches here.