Lakat: Walking the Talk

From preservation to conservation, from protection to responsible sourcing, there is no better time to talk about the environment than at the height of the worst El NiƱo to hit the country. Now more than ever, in our neck of the woods, scorching record temperatures speak eloquently about how environmental abandon can get agriculture in the crosshairs.

And not just food, but agriculture as it impacts a complete lifestyle, from what we eat to what we wear. From what interests the foodie, to what makes OOTD.

Negrenses have had practice with closed loop manufacturing. Tapping bagasse and molasses to produce power and ethanol are good examples. But there are other crops in Negros that need intervention as well. There’s pineapple farmed in Don Salvador Benedicto, Negros Occidental. And cotton grown in Bayawan, Negros Oriental. These, too, have remnants from harvesting that could just lay waste. With assistance from the Philippine Textile Research Institute of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST-PTRI), Mike and Banj Claparols realized that blended pineapple cotton fiber makes cool and stylish sneakers.

Mike and Banj at the pineapple farm.

Actually, Mike and Banj have been at it since 2017 when they decided to transform their marketing company, Creative Definitions, into an enviro-social enterprise. From selling world-class finished products of Negros, to being a part of a production process creating world-class Negros fashion. That meant embracing responsible sourcing and use of raw materials and skills, which translates to hitting the country road and working closely with farmers and weavers. It meant, walking the talk.

By 2017, the global concept of “world-class” had also acquired a richer meaning than just looking hand-made and Third World. By then, for Negros products to be truly world-class they had to appeal to international buyers, from the EU, the Americas, Japan, to name a few, buyers schooled about responsible sourcing practices.

Together with Fr. Brian Gore and the Negros 9 weavers.

Many of them are guided by the 17 Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations, like responsible consumption and production. As it happens, there are limited runs of each style of Lakat sneakers because farmers can only harvest as much pineapple and cotton as the crops permit. This allows nature to replenish the earth’s wealth.

While already working with farmers and weavers in Negros, and especially the weavers of Kabankalan City, the production chain of Lakat Sustainables continues to work with DOST-PTRI in Taguig City and a sneaker assembly plant in San Mateo, Rizal. But perhaps not for long. Banj and Mike are committed to bring the entire production process to Negros to further reduce the company’s carbon footprint. Learn more about Lakat Sustainables when you check their video documentary

Text by: Alan S. Gensoli

Photos by: Creative Definitions, Unit A Creatives

Video by: Unit A Creatives

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