Any opportunity to support local businesses while being environment friendly is obviously worth taking. But throw in a great design and fit, along with water repellant properties (always a bonus) and fun color ways, and you have a compelling argument for a shopping spree.
Launched in 2021 by enviro-social entrepreneurs, Mike and Banj Claparols, LAKAT
Sustainables is a conscious sneaker brand dedicated to promoting the use of eco-
friendly, ethically-sourced and produced local materials: hand-woven pineapple and cotton fabrics.
Created by the country’s prime movers in sustainable design, LAKAT Sneakers are 100% Philippine-made using sustainable materials. The production of each sneaker leaves a positive socio-economic impact on local weavers and farmers in Negros and Mindanao. It also supports the livelihood of those involved in the supply chain, inspiring a new model for a truly sustainable value chain.
Pineapple fibers used in making LAKAT shoes are sourced from discarded leaves typically thrown after harvesting pineapples. Extraction is made using solar powered energy, which ultimately equates to a lower carbon footprint. Pineapple and cotton fibers are water repellant, and hand-woven by Kabanklan weavers of Negros. Insoles are made using 100% non woven pineapple fabric, while outsoles are produced using rubber locally farmed in Mindanao. To further reduce waste, soles are mixed with pineapple cotton fibers discarded from the yarn spinning process.
Limited runs of each style align with the brand’s efforts to minimize waste and honor weaving traditions of its makers. Pre orders are welcomed, with lead times of up to three weeks because of the product’s artisanal nature. Stocks are made in batches and are open for pre-order.
Designs and color ways of LAKAT sneakers are inspired by ever-evolving sensibilities of street style. Neither trendy nor traditional, these sustainable sneakers break free from design conventions and expectations, emphasizing ideals of sustainability as today’s universal style standard.
THE FOUNDERS STORY
Since 2008, Mike and Banj Claparols of Creative Definitions have dedicated themselves to providing world-class Negrense products. Through the parent company, and now with LAKAT, they’ve endeavored to continuously innovate and open more opportunities for local producers, communities and suppliers.
It was in 2017 when both visionaries shifted their business model to become an enviro-social enterprise. They partnered with various weaving communities in Negros Island as a means for achieving long-term sustainability for both the parent company and its partner producers.
In their journey towards sustainability, they calibrated and adopted conscious practices within the supply such as the use of indigenous natural materials and implementation fair trader. Foundations for creative collaborations were also laid down, allowing them to innovate while still paying tribute to time honored traditions and values. Collaborators involved in developing the LAKAT brand and its inaugural sneakers included: CITEM, DTI, DOST-PTRI and communities of farmers from Negros and Mindanao.
LAKAT as a brand name was homage to to the Illonggo roots that bore the concept and its products. The founders elaborate, “Handloom weavers of the fabrics, source of the fibers and the way of life of the people of Negros are valuable elements that made LAKAT what it is today.”
TECH MEETS TRADITION
The foundations that led to LAKAT’s birth were first set in place when founders of the brand first connected with the DOST-PTRI, also in 2017. This meeting of the minds introduced Mike and Banj to sustainable textile technologies through the agency’s Technology Business Innovation Program.
Ultimately, this partnership played an integral role in the establishment of a viable business model where environment, economy, innovation and community development could truly co-exist and thrive. They add, “The ultimate goal is to establish a sustainable value chain.”