Filipino entrepreneurs promote political causes through bags and T-shirts

By Marjorie Gorospe

QUEZON CITY, METRO MANILA— Graffiti Art Development Cooperative simply started when its founders realized that political statements are better written on shirts instead of city walls.

The group traces its roots during the 1980s, its founders active supporters of political rights groups stemming from the Martial Law period of the the previous decade.

It had a sort of revival in 1998 behind Emily Garcia and Roland Solidarios, who wanted to put political statements and champion local leaders and heroes through clothing.

“At that time, there were still a lot of vandals and graffiti on the walls in Metro Manila. We still want to continue expressing our opinions and creativity but without damaging our public places,” says Emily, who handles marketing chores for the group.

Back then, the group was making T-shirts bearing the images of Andres Bonifacio and the now-ubiquitous Latin American revolutionary Che Guevara, a few years before these designs became mainstream.

“Back then, business was better because many products are made locally compared now that most are made from other countries,” laments Emily.

However, this did not stop the group from continuing with the business, partly driven by their political causes. Aside from T-shirts, they also started making other products such as bags made from local materials like abaca.

Emily personally designs “eco-bags” made from katsa cloth and canvas bags decorated with beads. These bags range from P150 to P250 depending on the design. Their T-shirts, meanwhile, sell for  P180 apiece.

Emily says a number of schools have noticed their products leading to bulk orders of these eco-bags for students.

“Aside from promoting freedom of expression through our shirts, we also promote recycling through these eco-bags. But most of all, we advocate the use of local raw materials because this benefits local industries,” she says.

Graffiti Art Development Cooperative operates Stall 9 and Stall 25 at the Cartimar Shopping Center Recto in Metro Manila. For more information, go to - http://loqal.ph/home-and-living/2011/06/13/graffiti-art-development-cooperative/

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loQal.ph (http://loqal.ph/) is a website owned and operated by Filquest Media Concepts, Inc. It works under the principle of giving voice to the voiceless, empowering Filipinos and uplifting the image of the Philippines by highlighting its unique culture. To do this, the loQal.ph team produces stories, video, photos and other multimedia content types to inspire and celebrate Filipino achievements, ideas, products and places.

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