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Second Look at Leather

Many call for the non-use of leather because it isn’t exactly green. An alternative perspective is forwarded, however – i.e. seeing leather as a by-product that will just go to waste if not used.

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By PePe Castro

By-products. That, says Filipino shoe manufacturer and retailer giant Manels owner Manuel Siggaoat, are what they are. He is talking about leather, of course.

“This (industry) makes use of by-products that (if not used, will) just go to waste,” he says. That, by the way, is not an excuse – Siggaoat is, actually, being truthful.

Leather is a material created through the tanning of hides and skins of animals, primarily cattlehide, uses raw materials that are by-products of the meat industry, with the meat having higher value than the skin. Leather – like fur – is actually a sore point for many, err, (non-consumers of meat) animal lovers, largely because it necessitates the slaughter of a living being in order to produce it. The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), an animal rights activist group, among others, consider the use of “all leather items (from animal hides) is unnecessary and cruel in today’s society.”

And so the debate continues on the pros and cons of leather, and leather use.

FASH ITEMS

Manels, of course, has been a leading player in the local leathergoods market since 1964. Manels – a play at the names of owners Manuel and Nelia Siggaoat – started out as a small shoe store near the Philippine Women’s University, where Nelia worked, soon proving to be lucrative so that the husband and wife tandem decided to leave their careers to focus on their new business. Nelia’s artistic vision found a medium in the design and manufacture of these shoes and bags. Manuel, on the other hand, focused on building the business side.

Over 40 years later, Manels has diversified – in 2004, Siggaoat’s son, Mark Siggaoat, spearheaded the establishment of LapDance (lapdancebag.com), a company supplying laptop (and similar gadgets) casings.

“It’s a niche market,” the younger Siggaoat says, adding that, initially, “it was a hard (market to break into) when we started.”
Not, worth noting, because of anti-leather sentiments.

The sales picked up, though, and have been up since 2006.

Early in 2009, LapDance started selling products using ostrich leather.

In an interview, the older Siggaoat notes how, in the case of ostriches in particular, “ostriches are now grown locally (aside from getting imported) for their meat,” he says. Interestingly, in many cases, only ostrich meat is harvested – in fact, in the Philippines, tanning ostrich skin is not practiced.

There, therefore, is produced “waste” – effectively turned into leather.

LapDance currently usually comes out with eight to 10 new designs per season, the products costing from P1,800 to over P3,000 apiece.

And, oh, the leather is but a component of the design – other materials used are fibers, among others, just as the company is also studying the use of faux (fake) leather to “make the products more marketable.”

GOING ALL-NATURAL

For those opposing the use of leather, it isn’t just the slaughter of animals (a living thing) that ruffles their feathers, so to speak – it is also how the tanning process that the hide has to go through which, it is worth noting, can be harmful to the environment. Tanning, the process that makes the leather (which does not easily decompose) from the skins of animals (or rawhide, which decomposes easily) after permanently altering its protein structure, often makes use of such chemicals as: sodium sulfide, sodium hydroxide, sodium hydrosulfite, arsenic sulfide, calcium hydrosulfide, dimethyl amine, sodium sulphydrate, and, yes, tannin – all of them, aside from emitting toxic fumes, may (if/when not properly disposed of) contaminating air and water.

In theory, choosing not to use (not just buy) leather products should be easy – after all, the alternatives now abound. Among others, there are the artificial leather (fabric with leather finish, popularly used as upholstery), synthetic leather or pleather (this one, however, is also hotly discussed, since it is often made from plastic, another hot point for environmentalists), vegan leather (made from fibers that are animal-friendly – though even this uses some PVC, deemed harmful to the environment).

A bigger issue is in the availability of the products – in the Philippines, for example, alternatives are not as widely available.

REALISTIC APPROACH

Michael Bloch, editor of greenlivingtips.com, has a more realistic approach.

“What’s a leather lover to do? Firstly, we need to look at our consumption – do we really need 10 pairs of leather shoes, five wallets or eight handbags? Every leather item you don’t buy mean less toxic waste entering into the environment and, perhaps, an animal not killed – you’ll save some cash as well,” Bloch says.

Yet another way to approach the issue is to “reduce our associated impact by asking companies where they source their leather – if it’s outside ‘developed’ countries, assume the worst,” Bloch adds.

For the moneyed, though, opting to buy only the green should always be considered – if not locally available, the order from overseas.
But for now, on leather, pleather, vegan leather, imitation leather, or… whatever? The choice remains yours – choose wisely.

Believing that everyone's perspective is important, Zest Magazine has opted to provide an avenue for these perspectives to be known. care to hear the publication's contributing writers; or better yet, do some contributing yourself by contacting info@zestmag.com.

Beauty & Fashion

Save up to 50 percent on PUMA sneakers, apparel at PUMA end-of-season sale

Now’s your chance to avail of big discounts up to 50% off on a wide assortment of PUMA items. Whether you’re looking for comfortable and stylish apparel for your next workout, or a fresh pair of sneakers to complete your fit, PUMA definitely has something just for you.

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Calling all sports buffs and style aficionados! With the summer coming to a close, PUMA is holding a special end-of-season sale at select branches across Metro Manila and Cebu.

Now’s your chance to avail of big discounts up to 50% off on a wide assortment of PUMA items. Whether you’re looking for comfortable and stylish apparel for your next workout, or a fresh pair of sneakers to complete your fit, PUMA definitely has something just for you.

Don’t miss out on this opportunity to snag incredible deals at PUMA!

During the PUMA End of Season Sale, a wide range of items will be on sale at up to a 50% discount at the following branches:

  • Glorietta, Unit LLB 210 – 211, 2nd Floor, Glorietta 3, Ayala Center, 1224 Makati City
  • Eastwood Mall, Unit A101a & A101b, Ground Floor, Eastwood Mall, Eastwood City, Brgy. Bagumbayan, Quezon City
  • Shangri-La Plaza, Unit 260 Level 2 Main Wing Shangri-La Plaza Edsa cor Shaw Blvd. Mandaluyong City
  • Venice Grand Canal, Unit A168 GF, Venice Grand Canal Mall, McKinley Hill
  • Ayala Center Cebu, Level 1 Stall 125C, Ayala Center Cebu, Cebu Business Park, Cebu City Opening Hours: Mon-Thu 10am – 9pm | Fri-Sat 10am – 10pm
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Beauty & Fashion

UNIQLO Mall of Asia store reopens on May 17

The branch first opened in 2012 as the global brand’s very first store in the Philippines, introducing Filipinos to UNIQLO’s stylish and functional everyday clothing.

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UNIQLO’s original MOA store is set to open its doors once more after major updates. The newly revamped store comes with a bigger space and larger offerings.

The branch opened in 2012 as the global brand’s very first store in the Philippines, introducing Filipinos to UNIQLO’s stylish and functional everyday clothing. With its sprawling 1,550 square meters at that time, the store served thousands of customers in the largest mall in the country and remained as one of the go-to hubs for LifeWear.

On May 17, the all-new UNIQLO MOA store promises to be even bigger with a doubled-up floor space of over 3,000 square meters spread across two floors. Loyal and new customers alike will surely enjoy the store’s new layout and latest presentations, as the space evolves with the new lifestyles of Filipinos.

Redefined experiences

Aside from featuring a vast selection of LifeWear pieces, the all-new UNIQLO MOA store will also redefine the retail experience where in-store and online shopping comes hand-in-hand. Store-driven efforts such as same-day Click & Collect are set to give customers an integrated shopping experience with UNIQLO.

The all-new UNIQLO MOA store will also be the second store in the country to have UNIQLO Coffee and UTMe! Originally only available at UNIQLO Manila Global Flagship Store in Glorietta 5, UNIQLO Coffee and UTme! is coming to the MOA store to delight coffee lovers and art lovers, respectively.

UNIQLO Coffee in the Philippines presents locally sourced, high-quality coffee beans from Mt. Apo, and features goods and pastries that mix Filipino and Japanese flavors.

Meanwhile, the UTme! service lets customers customize shirts and tote bags with various designs from its library or their own creations and images. To celebrate the new opening, UNIQLO is expanding its UTme! line-up with new designs in collaboration with partners from the local community.

Redefined lifestyles

The UNIQLO MOA store offers the brand’s complete LifeWear collection for men’s, women’s, kids, and babies. The all-new store spotlights essentials that are made for all, such as, the UNIQLO Core T and UNIQLO BraTop collection. Collaboration pieces with world renowned designers and pop culture brands will also be available.

Mark your calendars on May 17 and join the eventful re-opening of the UNIQLO MOA store at Level 2 to 3 of MOA’s North main mall, sure to be filled with exciting surprises with a redefined shopping experience like no other.

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Beauty & Fashion

Decathlon opens new Cebu City store

It is the first store outside Mega Manila for the France-based sports brand, our 6th store in partnership with SM, and the first Decathlon Philippines store to open this 2024.

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Global sports retail brand Decathlon unveils its 10th store in the Philippines, a 3,000 sqm sports retail zone at SM City Cebu. It is the first store outside Mega Manila for the France-based sports brand, our 6th store in partnership with SM, and the first Decathlon Philippines store to open this 2024. 

“We are excited to launch not only a new store, but a key milestone for us in making sports accessible to more and more Filipinos,” Hans Iff, President of Decathlon Philippines, states. “In Decathlon we always go where the sport lovers are, and Cebu is the perfect starting line for us, with its blend of urban playgrounds and nature destinations, and of course its active and dynamic residents. We look forward to welcoming all sport lovers and sparking the wonders of sport within each one.” 

Decathlon Cebu offers an expansive range of products for over 70 sports, with expansive display areas and experience zones for everyone to try and test. “We are happy to be in Cebu, a home for outdoor, water, and multisport activities, and a popular local and international tourist hub. Our goal is to be where the sport passionates are, but we also recognize that we are so much more than sport – we exist to unlock the love of sport in everyone. We look forward to having everyone discover our best-value sports products at an accessible price, and welcome everyone in SM City Cebu, ” Hathaipat ‘Spray’ Theintangpiriya, store leader for Cebu and city leader for Visayas and Mindanao, shares. 

Spray also assures that the Decathlon journey will continue to grow in the Visayas region. “Our Cebu store is only the starting line of an exciting Decathlon adventure. Our mission definitely isn’t done, and you can look forward to having more and more stores within the region in the coming years.” 

Decathlon Cebu also has a few surprises for all sport lovers this opening week. On March 1 only, the first 100 customers will receive an exclusive Decathlon backpack. On March 1 to 3, customers with a minimum purchase of P3500 will get an exclusive Decathlon Cebu tote bag, and on March 4-10, a special dry bag awaits customers with a minimum single receipt worth Php 3500. Only Decathlon members are eligible for the promos – simply sign up for free to enjoy up to 2-year warranty and 365-day refund and exchange on most items, access to Decathlon playgrounds and sports events, and more member-only promos and exclusives. 

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