“If there is one thing I’ve learned after more than 90 days in quarantine, it’s that you have to be hopeful about tomorrow,” designer Ito Kish says.
In April, the idea for “Ito Kish Retail Season 2” started germinating in his mind in the early morning hours (he would start at 4:30 a.m.) when he would take a walk in Legazpi Park. The rest of the day that he spent in lockdown in his flat, he would daydream about the trip he took to Bali in February last year.
“I am not sure how the lockdown affected my creativity. I know I was lazy but at the same time, I imagined how the retail space and a collaboration would look,” he says.
Thus was born “Ito Kish Retail Season 2,” a selling show happening in July through early August, with three collaborators: his close friends Len Cabili of Filip + Inna and Apol Massebieau of Good Luck, Humans, and potter Joey De Castro.
Ito’s Bali trip with Len and Apol last year started in Ubud and wound its way to Seminyak. “It was their first time, so I was basically their guide. It was very inspiring.”
Planning a retail show without ever having a meeting with your collaborators is a huge challenge, not to mention the lack of face-to-face with manufacturers who would produce your designs. “It was all was via email. Production was slow because of the logistics, like my lamp supplier could not find rattan due to the quarantine, so the base was finished a day before the shoot last week. Since GCQ was extended, we also moved the event. But working with Len and Apol, who are two of my terrific friends, was easy, and I also did not have any problems with Joey.”
“Life in quarantine has also taught me the importance of friendship,” he says. “With each brand, I am doing a collaborative piece. Proceeds of the first piece of each collab will go to World Vision to support the education of less fortunate kids.”
He adds, “Inspired by our trip to Bali last year, Len is coming up with an exclusive collection of clothing that mixes traditional Indonesian and local fabric. Gregoria II is our collaborative work. She took the Gregoria accent chair and wrapped its balusters with handmade materials from the different indigenous groups that Filip + Inna works with.
“Apol of Good Luck, Humans has been my friend for over 20 years. Since her return from France over eight years ago, our friendship has become terrific. She is launching new clothing pieces in our retail space. We are also collaborating on something exuberant called ‘Hardin,’ a garden with her Lucky Buttons and hand-embroidered butterflies on the Arellano vase.
“I own a few of Joey De Castro's pottery, and they are all beautiful. I am excited that his pieces will complement the Ito Kish Design Collection this month. We are collaborating on a limited-edition collection called ‘Lampara,’ which are accent table lamps, with the shade made from Joey's vigorous earthenware.”
Ito says that while the lockdown was hard, the latter part of the GCQ “was more difficult” for him. “Because now you could go out, get a haircut, buy pizza, but you know that it is not the same as before. It made me sad. I started noticing closed businesses. Then I started thinking about those affected by the lack of public transportation and felt lucky that I could walk to the nearest supermarket, and that I have a car.”
In or out of quarantine, Ito Kish continues his visual storytelling.
(“Ito Kish Retail Season 2” will be at 1120 JP Rizal Avenue, Makati City. Filip + Inna and Joey De Castro, July 2-5, 9-12, 15-18; Good Luck, Humans and Joey De Castro, July 23-26, July 30-Aug 2. Set an appointment at least a day before your visit (no walk-ins). Social distancing and sanitation protocols will be in place. E-mail [email protected], or send an SMS to 0917-1820306.)
(Visit the author’s travel blog at www.findingmyway.net. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram@iamtanyalara.)