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How to turn #FilipinoFashionFridays into #FilipinoFashionEveryDay

By THERESE JAMORA-GARCEAU, The Philippine STAR Published Apr 28, 2021 5:00 am

Thanks to the success of pioneering brands like Filip + Inna, there’s been a major boom in fashion designers working with communities of weavers all over the country, reviving the dying arts of tribal textiles, and injecting new life into the Marikina shoe scene.

Here are some new and noteworthy brands to explore, whose prices are so reasonable you don’t need to limit wearing Filipiniana to Friday but every day.

To dye for

Brand: Maison Metisse

Their story: After studying fashion design in France and marrying a Frenchman, Filipina designer Adrienne Charuel founded Maison Metisse in New York in 2016. She’d discovered the Japanese art of Saori weaving, which celebrates the uniqueness of handcrafted creations, and enjoyed it so much she started weaving pieces to sell in New York.

“It started out more as a hobby and just seeing how people reacted to the pieces,” Charuel says. “I had great feedback and sold a couple of my weavings there.”

French connection: Maison Metisse’s bags and apparel

She decided to move back to Manila in 2018, going back to her roots and incorporating it in her creations. “I was doing some self-studies in natural dyes and found out that we had Philippine natural dyes and there was a tribe in Northern Luzon who does it,” she says.

“I decided to visit them and take a three-day workshop and accidentally discovered their beautiful embroideries, which I decided to incorporate as well into my creations. It also made it clear to me that I wanted to help empower this community by partnering with them, and contributing to improving their living and work environment.”

Who makes their products: “I hand-dye the textiles personally and with a creative assistant at my home atelier,” says Charuel. “We also develop our own hand-woven fabrics with our weavers in Northern Luzon using Philippine natural fibers such as pineapple and cotton yarn. We also work with embroiderers from the Itneg tribe.”

What they offer: Handcrafted creations that use natural textiles and natural dyes. “We also have creations that celebrate Philippine heritage through the hand-woven and hand-embroideredartistry of our partner artisans.”

Maison Metisse will soon launch pure cotton hand towels, as well as virtual workshops on their artistic techniques.

Price range: From P300 to P14,000

The best way to order: Through their website.

Footwear for women by women

Brand: Andy Shop PH

Her story: Andy Riel Wong, a business management major who started the beloved Sulok Café in Antipolo, transformed it into an ecommerce business due to the pandemic.

In March 2020, Andy went into another venture, launching their, an online footwear brand for women.

She started searching for shoe manufacturers in Marikina City that would not only deliver the quality she was looking for, but also paid their staff good salaries and helped improve their lives. Once found, she worked closely with them to create her first batch of shoe designs. Andy’s apartment serves as her office and stockroom.

Slip these on: Andy Shop sandals in various colors

What they offer: Casual, comfortable everyday footwear for women proudly made in Marikina City. Bags and lifestyle products for both men and women will be available later this year.

Who makes their products: Female artisans from Marikina. “When we purchase local, we support their families, their dreams and their legacy,” Andy says. “Footwear for women, made by women.”

Price range: P550 to P1,399.

Best way to order: Through their website or Shopee. You can also message them on Facebookand Instagram

Bringing Batik back

Brand: Balik Batik

Their story: Balik Batik started because of their love for what is uniquely Filipino. “From there, we grew from a simple idea: to share uniquely Filipino clothing items with friends. We soon realized that many more people wanted to wear clothing items that feature local traditional Filipino artistry and fabrics.”

They expanded from sharing with friends to a growing community of local lovers. “With more awareness of the beauty of our weaves and designs, there is now more appreciation and love for local. Our mission is to spread the love for traditional Filipino artistry and weaving through clothing pieces and accessories that are wearable any day, every day.”

Woven wonders: Balik Batik’s terno jacket and barong

Who makes their products: They partner with weaving communities, indigenous groups and Filipino designers from all over the Philippines, like weavers from Yakan, Tausug, Itneg and Igorot ethnic groups for their hand-woven fabrics; Ata Langilan Manobo, Panay Bukidnon and T'boli for their unique embroidery styles; and Gaddang artisans for their handmade jewelry.

“We also work with weaving communities such as those in Abra and Ilocos for their distinct, hand-woven fabrics, such as Binakuland Pinilian Abel de Yloco.”

What they offer: Handmade accessories such as necklaces, earrings, traditional Filipino scarves, hand-woven pouches and bags, shirts, blouses, cover-ups, jackets and blazers that feature various hand-woven fabrics or embroidery styles.

“We also create custom pieces such as coats, suits and barongs. Our offerings are also very diverse, coming from different ethnic groups.”

Price range: From P80 for accessories to P6,500 for hand-woven blazers. Custom pieces are priced depending on the design and fabric used.

The best way to order: Through their social media accounts on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.

Mixing modern with traditional

Brand: Black & Brown PH

Their story: Born in the summer of 2019 and launched a year later, “Black & Brown PH is still a young brand,” says cofounder Ace Ang.

“Although all our products are 100-percent locally made, my partners and I took some inspiration from Japanese minimalist designs. Our company’s goal has always been to provide timeless pieces for Filipinos.”

He says providing jobs to local shoemakers is what keeps his team going in times like these. “We make sure to keep our business decisions as conservative as we can to keep our shoemakers employed.”

Inspired by Japanese minimalism: Sandals from Black & Brown PH

What they offer: Women’s footwear from sizes 5 to 14. “Aside from offering big sizes, we also provide custom fits for some of our customers,” Ang says.

Who makes their products: A small team of shoemakers based in Marikina. “Our local artisans are the ones who design and make our products, from pattern making and cutting to hand lasting,” notes Ang.

“We have a mixed approach when it comes to crafting our shoes. Incorporating both modern and old-fashioned techniques are some of the reasons why our products differ from other brands.”

Price range: P740 to P1,540, shipping fee included.

Best way to order: Aside from Black & Brown Ph’s social media accounts, the brand has already partnered with concept stores located in Pasay, Makati and Pasig.

Reviving the dying art of inabel

Brand: Masabel Iloco

Team Ilocos: Masabel Iloco’s Marie Savellano (center), her community of weavers, and a Masabel Iloco bag

Their story: Masabel was born through an advocacy. “My father saw the beauty of this craft and helped revive the dying art of inabel,” says Marie Savellano.

“As a child, my father would have me accompany him to the weavers’ house to watch them weave on their looms. The intricate process of creating it was how I initially fell in love with it.“

Each unique inabel is manually woven through complex techniques on wooden looms to create different designs. Its various weave patterns and motifs are inspired by elements of nature and behind each one encompasses an untold story from Ilocos’ rich culture.“

According to Savellano, the craft has been handed down from generation to generation in Ilocos but is now a dying heritage, with a dwindling number of weavers and scarcity of raw materials.

“From then, I decided to make something out of the fabrics,” Marie says. “I have been working together with the Ilocano weavers to sustain their livelihoods by promoting the beauty and story of their weaves through fashion.”

Who makes their products: Weavers from Ilocos Sur.

What they offer: Clothes, shoes, bags and accessories.

Price range: P1,500php to P10,000

Best way to order: Through their Instagram andwebsite .

Highlighting hablon

Brand: Lin-ay by Binky Pitogo

Their story:Lin-ay was launched in 2019 to become a conscious and purposeful clothing line that promotes community inclusivity. “One of our primary goals is to support local and indigenous crafters,” says founder Bianca Pitogo. “Lin-ay aims to create more demand for clothes designed to highlight locally woven fabrics, especially Iloilo’shablon.”

Modern Filipiniana: Dresses from Lin-ay by Binky Pitogo

Who makes their products:“I design Lin-ay’s clothes and facemasks and they are sewn by women within our district,” Pitogo says.

“The hablon textiles are woven by women artisans in nearby towns of Oton, Tigbauan and Miag-ao, Iloilo, who learned their craft from their ancestors and conceived floral and geometric patterns.

“We also outsource textiles from other weaving communities such as Aklan, Maguindanao, Basilan, and Laguna. Lin-ay also showcases the Panay Bukidnon tribe, the T’boli tribe, and embroiderers of Aklan and Lumban, Laguna.”

What they offer:Lin-ay’s forte is bespoke modern formal and casual Filipiniana attire using only hand-woven and handcrafted textiles.

Price range: Tops are P3,500 up; dresses P5,000 up.

Best way to order: Through Instagram or Facebook or book an appointment at their shop, Binky Pitogo at Sanmars Point Building, General Luna Street, Iloilo City. You can also reach them at 0939-6148682 or 0917-7040557.

Inspired by Frida Kahlo & Flamenco

Brand: Tonbo Is Handmade

Her story: Flamenco dancer/teacher Nina Blanch-Prats started to crochet a lot when the pandemic started. “Crochet has always been one of my favorite hobbies, but I would only crochet occasionally prior to the pandemic,” she says.

“When the pandemic did start, I started to crochet again because I found that it calmed my fears and worries brought about the situation and kept my mind focused on something creative.

“It was a wonderful therapy and before I knew it, I crocheted a blanket for my son! That started a chain of events. Together with two friends we created a Viber community of handcrafters like me, and in that community our creations were shared and sold.

“From that blanket, I started to create other products and now my crochet keeps me wonderfully busy creating new things and fulfilling orders.

Crochet queen: Tonbo Is Handmade’s Nina Blanch-Prats and her Infinity scarves, pillows and home accents

Her inspirations: Family, other artists and people I admire, like Frida Kahlo, fabrics, paintings, Chinoiserie vases and ceramics, nature, my garden. Flamenco is a major inspiration, and as I can’t dance as much as Iused to, I find that my creative passion, especially in the creation of patterns, has been translated into my crochet.

Products on offer: The Frida scarf is very popular. Baby booties, baby bonnets and blankets; TV blankets or afghans, pillows, table accents and Christmas ornaments.

Price range: From P1,000 for baby items to P2,500 for the Frida scarf, up to P12,000 for a blanket. Price depends on design, length of time and difficulty to make.

Best way to order: Through Instagram or Nina Prats, or FB Messenger to Nina Blanch Prats.