The Artisans

Maco Custodio

Graduating with a degree in Industrial Design, Maco Custodio quickly found his calling in shoes. Early on, his obsession with shoes knew no territorial-boundaries, taking him to China to deepen his shoemaking-lexicon. By the time he returned to the Philippines, he had become an expert in the nitty-gritty of shoemaking. Yet, it was the stories that his designs told which first charmed Custodio to create shoes. “I don’t see my shoes as being different from the rest, technically. I can [only] say that my shoes are different because each shoe I design has a story and a soul.”

He launched his first shoe line, MACO CUSTODIO, in 2008, focusing on women platform shoes. Then in 2013, he introduced his own brand of baby and toddler wingtip shoes named MACOlit. In these capacities, he instilled his work’s story and soul in the clean lines and stable anatomy of his designs. Custodio, who doesn’t stray too far from his roots as an industrial designer, admits that he “likes to play with lines” which he finds particularly architectural about his work.

His shoes have left its footprints domestically and internationally, with notable exhibitions in Japan and the United Kingdom. However, his gusto for design has recently calibrated his focus toward bags. “I’m always willing to learn new techniques and get my hands on new materials.” His most recent designs, which incorporate themes of eco-sustainability and social-responsibility, narrate the stories of the empowered female weavers who weave his drawings into bags using up-cycled sheets of foil.

Each of his designs focuses on telling and preserving whatever story and soul Custodio intends for it, but he believes his purpose as a designer is much simpler: “I think when you are a designer by heart, your essence really is to create things.”


Natalya Lagdameo

Drawing from her work as an interior designer and coming across collections of furniture, heirlooms and artifacts from around the archipelago- along with the history that comes with these pieces- taking note of all the stories, details, patterns and symbolisms that were represented by these pieces as these were tell-tale signs of provenance, age and use. This is what led to her greater appreciation for the local jewellry traditions, both pre-colonial and colonial, that spoke of artistry, devotion and impeccable skill. It wasn’t long after that she decided to create her own designs utilizing original components such as tamburin beads, relicarios, crosses and chain patterns alongside tribal pieces like mother of pearl, wood and bone – in a modern aesthetic yet still in respect to the traditional format.

Beyond the visual factor of these pieces, material plays a key role in the line as Lagdameo strives to maintain these to be locally sourced. Compositions made from brass, bronze, silver and gold paired with shell, pearls, stones and local weaves like pina and jusi, the collection takes on a distinct personality very much like our own – a mix of the old traditions and current sensibilities.

Common Threads

CommonThread is a multi brand store that carefully selects local and international labels with interesting stories and well-made products. CommonThread is collaborating with like-minded brands to create distinct accessories and clothing using fabric trimmings from Elements.

Good Luck, Humans

Good Luck, Humans brings you design for exuberant living. It’s about color, texture, and details, a celebration for the senses! Inspired by the fabric arts, we use hand-sewing techniques to create delightfully tactile furniture, home objects, and personal accessories.
We work with residents of Jeremiah Street, an impoverished community in Las Pinas. We taught them the skills needed so they now provide us with the Lucky Buttons that we use to make our products. Our goal is to not only continue building their sewing skills, but also help them learn small-business smarts so that they can eventually build businesses of their own.