Combining mission and passion is the message that Fino Leatherware conveys with its new and limited line called Fino Now.
Up to September, Fino will release three fine leather bag designs inspired by three Filipino women—athlete-broadcaster Dyan Castillejo, pianist Serla Russel and former Miss Universe Margie Moran-Floirendo, a Mindanao peace advocate and president of Ballet Philippines.
The designs reflect the needs, lifestyles and concerns of 21st-century women at work, so no teeny and impractical bolzos here, only hardworking skins meant to convey the stories of thinking women whose lives would rather focus on family and community.
July saw the debut of Castillejo’s Fitness bag that Fino vice president for retail and marketing Rose Ann Bautista described as “the ultimate utilitarian ‘dump-all’ bag,” meant to keep up with the fitness guru’s on-the-go routine.
Officially serialized as Fino Now 001, Fitness is multi-compartmentalized with exterior and interior pockets. It is made of semi-matte, gloss lightweight leather that makes stashing and grabbing things easy as a woman moves about.
Fitness has a double handle that allows the user the option to turn it into a shoulder bag or a handbag as she travels from home to gym to work.
Straightforward with twist
The Sonata, inspired by pianist Serla, hit Fino’s shelves in August. Fino wanted Serla to enjoy a bag “that is straighforward with an unexpected twist—structured lines yet soft and fluid.”
Known as Fino Now 002, the Sonata is made of semi-water resistant nylon fabric with contrasting leather trimmings that remind an admirer of ebony and ivory piano keys.
Bautista said the Sonata can be fashioned into a trapezoid that would be perfect for dressier outfits, or a boat-shaped style when reversed to show its multiple pockets for more casual days.
The Fino executive said while Serla is more often seen in delicate gowns during performances, the pianist is down-to-earth and practical in real life.
The Station inspired by Floirendo will be available in September. Bautista is obviously proudest of this design, noting an earlier incarnation sold out in the 1990s.
The Station is an overnight bag that Floirendo has chosen with the scholars of Ballet Philippines in mind.
“The bag complements her passion as a staunch supporter of the arts and her commitment to Ballet Philippines by uplifting students from all walks of life through dance,” Bautista noted of Floirendo, a former Miss Universe who has chosen to use her star power to draw attention to disadvantaged sectors.
Fino Now 003 is incredibly roomy. Bautista said Floirendo wanted it to accommodate a change of clothes that is a necessity for ballet students, especially those dealing with hours-long daily commutes. The detachable shoulder strap and a zippered interior body would provide convenience for the user while maintaining a look that says classic charm.
While Fino celebrates its silver anniversary next year, the brand started years earlier as “R and R Leatherware,” which Bautista started with husband Dr. Rommel Bautista and her two sisters.
It is well known for high-quality leather goods that include planners, card cases, check cases, limited lines of shoes and slippers and key fobs aside from bags.
When not inspired by outstanding women, Fino designs are also coaxed out from Bautista’s travels and observations about people’s lifestyles.
“I see leather and imagine how it can be transformed into different ways. Not all materials are the same, so we get excited when we see a wide variety of materials. I don’t (monitor) brands or shops. I’m more curious about what’s out there. I think more about the person I’m making (a product) for,” Bautista said.
Clearly, this passion reflects the drive that also sets apart Fino’s brand ambassadors.
In line with Fino Leatherware’s corporate social responsibility efforts, part of the proceeds from the new Fino Now designs will be donated to entities chosen by Dyan Castillejo, Serla Russel and Margie Moran-Floirendo.