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When men go soft

By Ricky Toledo and Chito Vijandre, The Philippine STAR Published Sep 15, 2021 5:00 am

Men go soft… only with their wardrobe, naturally. Just like with the ladies, men’s fashion is more relaxed, as seen on the world’s runways and online, where Philippine designers and tailors have never been more visible with their creations — from roomy tops, kimono robes and short barongs to tunics, loose trousers and shorts.

All work-from-home-friendly but done with impeccable tailoring and couture details, many utilizing handwoven fabrics and craft work of various artisanal communities from all over the country. Their practicality and versatility can take them out for an errand or even a dinner party depending on how you wear and accessorize them.

A lot of the optimism of summer remains with pastels and vibrant shades and prints, but there is more experimentation now with the cuts and tailoring that give a certain feel-good polish even when you’re alone at home lounging.

And if you do go out with friends, these interesting details will surely get lots of compliments, not to mention that they will make interesting conversation to jumpstart an extraordinary time together.

The Updated Kimono

By Rafikimono (@rafikimono)

The kimono is a pandemic favorite, thanks to the Zen serenity of its Japanese origins but is now given a modern twist. Niño Franco works with the T’boli artisans of Lake Sebu in South Cotabato, Mindanao, to create contemporary hand-woven and embroidered versions that ensure a sustainable livelihood for various communities.

Rafael Fuchs-Simon and Shaun Sager of Rafikimono handcraft their line in the Philippines with fabrics sourced from all over the world, making genderless and timeless pieces.

The Relaxed Barong

With cool fabrics and relaxed cuts, the barong can go from morning to evening without compromising the intricate embroidery that makes it special.

By Kelvin Morales (@kelvinmorales)

Kelvin Morales shortens the length for a more athleisure fit with a tattoo-inspired design.

By Orias Studios (@oriasessentials)

Vin Orias of Orias Studios, working with hand embroiderers from Taal, Batangas, does a short-sleeved cotton-linen version with sports collar and rib knit.

Long Shirts

Worn on their own, long shirts or tunics are perfect lounging wear, which designers have dressed up to take them out of the house.

By Kelvin Morales (@kelvinmorales)

Kelvin Morales does a high-concept couture iteration derived from his curiosity of the human flesh and anatomic parts.

Shorts Forever

The bermudas and short shorts of last summer were just too comfortable to leave behind, so they live on in the fall-winter collections.

By Rafikimono (@rafikimono)

Rafikimono has matching robes to go with their shorts, making them dressier for Zoom and trips outside the house.

Bombers and Varsities

Cover up for the cooler months with a bomber or a varsity jacket, both of which have a free-spirit allure — the former because of its aviation connections and the latter for its association with school days.

By Wear Your Culture (@wear_your_culture)

Wear Your Culture, founded by Alvin and Evita Degamo after two decades of experience in the modeling industry, has many jackets in denim with appliqués of Yakan weaves and barong embroidered patches.

The Sweater Vest

The sleeveless waistcoat, worn layered over a big shirt or on its own makes a comeback this season with many versions in floral and graphic patterns.

By Joey Samson(@thenewmood. online)

Joey Samson does his in subtle translucent stripes with an oversized V-neck detail typical of the bespoke tailoring he is known for.

A Pocketful Shacket

By Studio Sampaguita (@studiosampaguita)

Never leave home without pockets, but even with WFH they come in handy with a shacket, the tailored combination of a shirt and a jacket that Studio Sampaguita crafts in a light, unlined version in the season’s fashionable sandy tones. This atelier was actually a pandemic-born initiative of Mark and Carin Aguas, the couple behind Masanting Sastreria, the haberdashery that opened a few years ago to specialize in suits.

Vibrant Prints

Whether in tie-dye, jungle pattern or tribal, vibrant prints are just the mood-enhancing elements to add to your wardrobe during these times.

Rafikimono has rich patterns with sumptuous fabrics that always give a feeling of luxury.