Between Bags and Beams | Liza Crespo's Eco-centric Architecture and Sustainable Apparel.
Updated: Apr 7
Caring about a sustainable future always sounds like something we all want to do, but don't always know how to execute in our lives. The story of Liza Crespo shows us that it is possible to bring sustainability into our primary business endeavors, as well as our passion projects. Liza shows how, at her very core, ecological sustainability is in her heart.
An architect by trade, Liza spent many years honing her craft both at home in Manila, and in New York. In 2008, she was one of the first Filipino architects to receive their L.E.E.D. accreditation, also getting her masters degrees in Architecture and & Urban Design at Columbia University, and Infrastructure Planning from NJIT. All these things have made her one of the emerging names in green architecture in Manila though her practice at Liza Crespo Ecotecture Manila. The projects they have focus on efficiency and sustainability, incorporating the best eco practices and sound design choices. Another one of her endeavors, Philippine GeoGreen Inc, makes industrial hardware more accessible than ever before. Through GeoGreen, Liza and her partners bring in solar panels, gigantic fans, solar tubes, atmospheric water generators, and green roof coatings for commercial use. These environmentally conscious fixtures give consumers the option for long-term, sustainable choices in a country that didn’t readily have it.
Liza and her efforts however do not stop with her day job. Beginning as a passion project with her friend Marielle de Leon-Lazaro, TALI Handmade gave her another avenue to do great work. At the heart of TALI are the special women who create every TALI product by hand, in the tradition of true craftsmanship. These women live in impoverished rural communities in the Philippines, some living with disabilities with little opportunity to work. Through the Tali Handmade Project, they have been given a second chance at a decent life through TALI´s sustainable enterprise. By honing their skills and earning wages, they are able to send their children to school, put food on their table and build a roof over their heads.”
TALI Handmade began in 2015, producing a number of interesting handwoven bags and clutches, each with distinctly Filipino designs. The journey to the final product however involves the hands of Filipino women on the fringes of society. TALI partners with women who live in rural communities, some with disabilities, and those who have been through the penal system a chance at a living wage. In an interview, Liza’s partner in this Marielle de Leon-Lazaro said that “100% percent of the labor cost goes to the women, and it’s the women’s cooperative that sets the price, not us.”
The story of TALI’s women is always about connecting women across the world. Through their only four years into this business, TALI can be found around the world via New York-based online retailer ShopLatitude, which distributes Tali’s products worldwide. A number of their products can be found through premium retailers in Hong Kong, Malaysia and the U.S. Bringing a Filipino brand with heart across the world is a testament to the ties that Liza and the women behind TALI Handmade have made in their 4 years as a business. Along the way, they have shown that Filipino fashion can give new life to women on the fringes, with their talents on full display through their handiwork. Liza's efforts to build TALI up, as well as her efforts to push for green architecture showcase exactly what Filipina Women can do.