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Fashionably coming out of the pandemic

By MONIQUE TODA, The Philippine STAR Published May 04, 2022 5:00 am Updated May 04, 2022 3:19 pm

The bright summer sun is in full force. Is it just me, or is there a feeling of hopefulness in the air? There is this excitement to make up for the time lost during the pandemic. Now is the moment to fully enjoy life, and during glorious summer at that. So let’s emerge dressed fashionably, to greet this special coming out.

I have come across lovely boutique brands with exquisite and well-done beach or resortwear. So to celebrate the idyllic days by the sea, here is a list of must-haves for the days upon us. Let’s make it a stylish summer!

Karen Fabie Concepcion’s Tindahan: Wearable culture

Karen Fabie Concepcion is the founder and proprietor of Karen's Tindahan, which was established in 2019. The idea for her brand came after one of her painting exhibits where she wanted to “give back” and support Philippine culture and the arts. “I thought about making our beautiful and unique Philippine products accessible to all by establishing Karen’s Tindahan. I always had the idea of wanting to highlight, and possibly help, small communities that I could collaborate with, and support their crafts and beautiful products.

Karen’s mother Anne Marie Cu Unjieng wearing a long embroidered kaftan from Karen’s Tindahan
The popular short kaftan dress by Karen’s Tindahan.

Over a few months, slowly, through some research and traveling around, I came across some local and talented bag makers, dress makers, weavers, embroiderers who listened to what and how I wanted to help them.” As she posted their work on social media, it gained a positive response from the public. As Karen got feedback and suggestions from her mom, Anne Marie Cu Unjieng, family, friends, and her growing clientele, she realized that ladies wanted beautiful but comfortable clothes to wear. However, her creations are not limited to women. “It was interesting to discover that I also had a growing male interest in my product line, and so I also integrated a unisex philosophy in my designs.”

Father and son Ton and Benito Concepcion wearing the hooded kaftan from Karen’s Tindhahan

Karen continues, “I'm a beach person and thought that creating some lounge wear would be a good inclusion since these are wearable for the beach and at home.” Aside from clothing, Karen’s Tindahan has a bag line in collaboration with the amazing weavers of Bassey, Samar — using her own designs, of course. Karen’s Tindahan appeals to men and women from ages 22 to 65 (sometimes older), as seen by her clientele. They are individuals who appreciate well-made Filipino products. The short and long kaftans are popular right now. Karen also has come out with hooded kaftans which is a sporty kind of loungewear for men, women, and even children.

DOT Secretary Berna Romulo-Puyat using a native handbag from Karen’s Tindahan
Mykie Concepcion Tan using a Karen’s Tindahan handwoven banig bag

To check out Karen’s Tindahan, follow them on Facebook, and Instagram.

Chari Sanvicente’s Swim Lourdes: Resort statements

Chari Legarda Sanvicente began creating swimwear for herself. Here she is in one of the first pieces of Swim Lourdes.

The woman behind Swim Lourdes is Lourdes Legarda Sanvicente, also known by her nickname Chari. Would you believe that this cool brand first started out creating items like placemats, crochet glass covers, and beach bags? Chari thought that her real name, Lourdes, would be ideal for this since it sounded like a traditional homemaker’s name. After all, she was named after her grandmother. This led to experimenting with swimwear, creating pieces for herself at first. It was also a challenge to find the right size for Chari’s petite frame, since most brands carry the standard US sizing. “I grew up in a family whose lives circulated around the beach, since we spent all the time we possibly could at our grandparent’s beach house in Nasugbu with our large family. So swimwear was always a necessity that I was particular about, even as a little girl.” Chari further says that “swimwear is your statement piece on the beach.” She especially loves that one can choose a style, color or print to match your mood, just like clothes.

The latest Swim Lourdes collection include bikinis in jewel tones such as emerald green which reverses to gold.
The latest style release of Swim Lourdes is a bikini with pleat work in black.

It’s quite impressive that Chari is a self-taught pattern maker, cutter and sewer. “I had a long learning curve. I wanted to know the basics to be able to identify errors for quality control, as well as to be able to guide my staff better.” With regards to the quality of Swim Lourdes pieces, “I tend to feel uncomfortable when the fabric is not breathable, or if the swimsuit is a bit loose after it gets wet since fabric stretches in water. I just don’t feel as confident when the fit is off and the fabric makes you sweat.” Since swim and resortwear go hand in hand, the brand eventually offered casual beach and lounge clothes. They have expanded their line by creating custom jewelry they design themselves. The team works with experienced local goldsmiths for this. To complete the beach experience, Swim Lourdes formulates a browning oil called Real Tan, which is an all-natural tanning oil that accelerates melanin production. Mostly, the Swim Lourdes clientele spans women, 15 to 60 years old. Currently in demand are the Cylynne bikini, fine silk romper, Ines bustier and linen jumpsuit.

All-white outfit by Swim Lourdes. Ines bustier top in silk worn with fine silk wrap shorts.
Fine silk romper worn with fine silk kimono by Swim Lourdes

Their latest collection was inspired by the clean lines and tailored fits of the of the ’70s. This is evident in their button-down and flared trousers. Forest colors with beautiful shades of green, navy blue, and white loungewear are included as well. Of course, not to be missed are the jewel-toned swimsuits, and a sophisticated black bikini with great detail.

Swim Lourdes ’70s-inspired flared trousers in forest green

To see more of the creations of Swim Lourdes, visit their website at www.swimlourdes.com, or follow on Instagram.

Patricia and Pia Moras’ Cariloo: Tropical lifestyle essences

Pia Moras models Cariloo creations, starting off with this off-shoulder dress in Indian cotton
Cariloo’s Maria Set consists of two pieces to be worn together or separately.

Sisters Patricia and Pia Moras would spend weekends surrounded by the crystal blue waters of the beach where they found solace from the hustle and bustle of the city. They then began to incorporate these seaside escapades into their everyday life. They would find the perfect kaftan or “pareo” to pair with their swimsuits, or the ideal bamboo cutlery to complete their dining set. “We have the fondest childhood memories of spending days at the beach and borrowing from our mother’s pareo collection. We wanted to create a line that encapsulated the ever-loved feeling of an island getaway, while also drawing inspiration from our Spanish-Colombian heritage to curate pieces that elevate your everyday style.” The idea for Cariloo started in 2019, after being inspired by the their trips abroad.

The Arena dress from Cariloo is made from 100-percent cotton.

The sisters started to import hand-blocked items from India, such as pareos and mantels, then began to experiment with using the hand-blocked fabric to create resortwear. “We also wanted to bring that feeling into the home, so we began to explore with Iraca products from Colombia. During the pandemic, we found ourselves reminiscing on our past travel adventures, and we felt it was the right opportunity to bring beautifully curated pieces and accessories closer to home through Cariloo,” says Patricia.

Cariloo has a wide selection of sarongs in their Pareo Collection.
Pareos from Cariloo are designed to be worn in different ways.

Also, they saw a shift in the last two years, where more people spent time outdoors and the beach. According to Pia, “Cariloo was born out of the essence of a tropical lifestyle that can take you from resortwear to a night out in the city.” Cariloo also carries accessories like earrings, bags and hats. Their home collections, known as Para Tu Casa and Para Tu Mesa, feature a wide array of hand-blocked tablecloths, flatware, tableware, and even Chinoiserie candles. They have also recently ventured into unisex shirts, and men’s and boy’s swim trunks. Recently, their Sonrisa dress was featured online in InStyle Spain, Elle Spain, Harper’s Bazaar Spain and Hola magazine. “Now more than ever, as the world is opening up again, we are ready to dust off our suitcases and escape to our next adventure.”

The Onda Hat by Cariloo
The Sueno Collection by Cariloo is relaxed but stylish wear.

To check-out Cariloo’s resortwear and home items, visit and follow on Instagram, or you can email them at [email protected].

Natalia Olondriz’s Tamarind Road: Forever summer

The Zola Batik Collection in Coral by Tamarind Road

“I have always had a passion for design, whether that translates to apparel, home interiors or décor, and upon becoming a mother, children’s fashion as well,” states Natalia Olondriz. Her first formal study and exploration into the world of design began shortly after she graduated from college and enrolled in the Interior Design program at PSID. Her focus at that time was interior design, but her love for textile and creating led her to trying out several avenues in home and fashion. Back in 2012, she started Peachtree Lane, offering children’s clothing in silhouettes, prints and styles that Natalia felt there was a lack of in the local market. “In 2020, I found myself with extra time on my hands, and my creative juices started flowing towards womenswear. This propelled me to curate a collection of loungewear that is easy, encourages comfort, and is made for the tropical lifestyle. This is how Tamarind Road was born.” She considers her love for the beach and a tropical lifestyle intrinsic to her, since she grew up near the ocean. According to Natalia, the intent for the brand was to offer styles that are versatile and can be worn both while oceanside, as well as on casual days in the city. “During the pandemic, when our lives were centered around our homes, I saw that there could be an opportunity to create loungewear that was presentable, and stylish enough to be worn in work meetings, run an errand, or simply while lounging with close friends and family.” Their batik slip dresses are popular and a bestseller.

Made from the softest cottonhand-block print fabric, these are great to wear to bed or wear as separates. Available at Tamarind Road.
Tamarind Road’s cotton short tunic is a perfect top for a sunny day at the beach or for layering with a pair slim-cut pants.

Comfortable and versatile, the pieces are created in a classic silhouette. They can be worn as is, or one can throw a light jacket over it, pair it with chic slides, and be ready to go. It comes in many different prints as well. Tamarind Road also carries accessories such as fun totes, quilted pouches, and made-to-order artisanal handmade soaps. Natalia concludes, “It is always summer in Tamarind Road. I will be forever be inspired by the tropical aesthetic and lifestyle that is brought about by living in the Philippines.”

Tamarind Road’s batik slip dress is designed with a straight fit body and high side slits at the hem for an airy feel. You will definitely want one for every day of the week!
Tamarind Road’s long tunic dresses are ideal for breezy beach days and casual weekends in the city.
Tamarind Road’s quilted totes come in different vibrant prints.

To see more from Tamarind Road, please visti and follow on Instagram.