It's a quiet and calm Sunday in our workshop. Not a sound of hammers pounding on leather, no workers chit-chatting while sewing. It's the perfect day to sit down, enjoy a hot cup of coffee, and open our newly bought Tatler Philippines magazine. It took us three trips to different bookstores just to get our hands on this August issue. It's a special one, not just because it's the first time the glossy featured a same-sex married couple for their cover. Inside, Tim Yap and Javi Martinez are pictured wearing our Pride leather mask.
We flip through the magazine and see it. There, on a double-page spread, are Tim and Javi. Clad in designer outfits, the power couple proudly poses with our mask. "Rainbow leather mask from Attique PH," the caption says.
What a milestone. For them, yes, but more so for us. This little backyard project, which had no budget for professional photoshoots, let alone PR packages and celebrity endorsements.
How did this happen, we ask ourselves. We remember the origin of this special mask--how we made it and how a pair landed on Tim and Javi's doorsteps. These stories are all connected, much like what the Pride mask stands for.
Attique's Pride Leather Mask, the Making Of
It was a few days after June 12. We have just released a special edition Lupang Hinirang leather mask in the Philippine flag colors. We received a curious inquiry from an old customer. He has already bought a leather mask from us.
Can you make a Pride-inspired mask? He asked.
June, we forgot, is Pride month. We couldn't refuse this custom request. We had to do it, because celebrating love in all its forms is a message that we stand with.
The first step was to look for leather. We had to source six colors--red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and violet. They had to be in the closest shade to the rainbow flag. And they had to be in the same texture. We went to our leather suppliers at least every other day for a week before found all six colors in full-grain cow nappa.
The next step was to design a new mask pattern. While our previous designs were either made for small or large faces, the new pattern should allow the mask to fit all frames and gender.
Once done, we sent the first batch to two LGBTQ couples so they can wear the mask and take photos. Ben Padero and Carlo Tajibe, a serodiscordant couple, had a powerful story to tell and they graciously accepted our invitation. So did Paula and Rhej. Coincidentally, a professional photographer reached out to us and offered to shoot our products for free.
It was a favor met with kindness and generosity. Two virtues that embody what Pride is all about.
The Tatler Philippines Feature
When we released the Pride leather mask, a friend purchased two and had them sent to Tim Yap and Javi Martinez. She works with the two in the live events industry. It was her way of supporting our small business, she said. Again, kindness and generosity.
None of us even knew then that Tim and Javi were in talks of doing the Tatler cover. It was they who suggested to the magazine's creative team that they wear their new Pride masks. What a surprise when we received raw photos from the photoshoot that Javi sent to our friend.
So that's how our little backyard project landed on the pages of Tatler Philippines even without the budget for professional photos, PR packages, and celebrity endorsements. Kindness, generosity, and a rainbow connection.