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A homegrown, handcrafted celebration of the Queen of Philippine orchids

By THERESE JAMORA-GARCEAU, The Philippine STAR Published Oct 06, 2021 5:00 am

Local fashion brand Basic Movement launched a capsule collection with their longtime collaborator: celebrated illustrator and Young Guns nominee Raxenne Maniquiz.

Both Basic Movement founder Esme Palaganas and Maniquiz are Bulakenyas, and discovered each other's work while they were on the same featured list years back.

“Creating connections online is easy enough when one genuinely trusts and admires each other,” Palaganas says. “We wanted to share our collection and story with you — a collaboration not just between designer and artist, but also handcrafters found in our local shores.”

Waling-waling cotton T-shirt #4 hand-painted by Raxenne Maniquiz

“Raxenne has always been influenced by flora and fauna through living in Bulacan and her grandparents, while I was quite passionate and curious about industries we could create in our provinces,” she continues.

“Before, Meycauayan was seen as the center of jewelry in the Philippines before globalization and China-produced jewelry was a thing. We then ventured to the big city, where we found our passions and a bigger industry we want to be part of. We found ourselves nurturing our craft in the city but we have always gone back to our origins for timeless inspirations.”

The vivid, almost painted profile of the Queen of Philippine Orchids, the Waling-waling, inspired illustrator and graphic designer Maniquiz to create “Waling-waling,” a capsule collection made in collaboration with Bulacan-based fashion collective Basic Movement.

 Flower power: Waling-waling scarf by Raxenne Maniquiz x Basic Movement is available at Basicmovement.ph.

At the heart of the collection is a set of stacking rings made to resemble the orchid’s delicate composition. It began life as a sketch in Raxenne’s notebook before being passed on to Basic Movement’s jewelers in Meycauayan, who shaped each ring’s delicate folds by hand.

 Waling-waling rings in gold and painted enamel: Maniquiz decorated each petal with enamel, meaning each ring is unique.

The final step took place just a few kilometers away in Raxenne’s own studio, where she used a fine brush to decorate each lip and petal with enamel. This means that no two rings are the same; each is as rare as the flower that inspired it.

Stud brass earrings with Russian gem dipped in matte gold

The jewelry pieces in the collection include a version of the rings dipped in gold, as well as a pair of earrings and a necklace also bearing the Waling-waling’s design.

Beyond the collection’s artisanal charms, Raxenne took a handmade approach as a sort of intermission from her largely digital body of work. The result is a tactile labor of love that she rarely experiences as a commercial graphic designer, complete with the imperfections and unexpected flourishes that come with the process.

 Handcrafted in Bulacan: Chain necklace with single flower pendant dipped in gold

Part of the capsule are ultra-limited T-shirts available in only five pieces. Each one is an original design hand-painted on the fabric by Raxenne, one of which features another endemic wildlife species worth our attention: the endangered Papilio chikae, a butterfly commonly called the Luzon Peacock Swallowtail.

 Genderless threads: The Waling-waling polo features an original Raxenne Maniquiz print in Toyobo fabric and can be worn by men and women.

The Waling-waling motif extends to the rest of the collection, which includes a tropical polo in a unisex cut, a rich satin scarf accentuated with Papilio chikae, and two Risograph-printed posters that call to mind Maniquiz’s illustrated distribution maps of other endemic flora.

A portion of sales from the collection will go to the Philippine Native Plants Conservation Society Inc., a non-profit devoted to the protection of indigenous Philippine plants and their habitats.

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A post shared by Raxenne Maniquiz (@raxenne)

Thanks to the people who helped bring Maniquiz’s vision to life, the Waling-waling collection debuts as a celebration of design, local artisanship, and the continued survival of the Philippines’ homegrown flora.

“This is an ode to the Waling-waling through Raxenne's artistry, our Meycauayan jewelry crafters, and collaboration,” says Palaganas.

The Waling-waling capsule collection by Raxenne Maniquiz and Basic Movement is available at basicmovement.ph. You can also follow @raxenne on Instagram for a special look behind its creation.

Photos by Ralph Mendozaand Modeled by Sam Potenciano