On the global scale, the Philippines hasn’t traditionally been known as a powerhouse of culture. We’ve long looked to Europe and the streets of New York and London to set the world’s fashion trends while the rest of us struggle to keep up. But what would happen if the fashion world finally looked to the Philippines and Filipino style for their inspiration?
In the past decade, Philippine fashion has been making its way ahead of the curve—by also honouring its heritage. Just last year, Kandama Collective dazzled the audience at Paris Fashion Week with Ifugao indigenous weaves and Filipiniana silhouettes. There was also Filipina designer Tracy Dizon who made her mark after being hailed the grand winner of Brooklyn Fashion Week in New York. Flipping through today’s fashion magazines, you’ll find the current trends from this year’s Spring/Summer 2020 runways reflect motifs familiar to any Filipina from the islands.
So, allow us to tread the fine line between trendy and timeless. Our partners in the Philippines design and handcraft pieces by drawing from the culture, traditions, and resources of our people; and we’re seeing them play out on the global stage.
We present a few Filipino-made favourites for Spring/Summer and beyond!
Both Vogue and British Vogue reported tropical flora as a prominent motif in collections for Spring/Summer 2020. Palm fronds, large flowers, and saturated colours prompt us to imagine rainforests in the Philippines—so lush it’s said our islands contain two-thirds of the Earth’s biodiversity!
Here, you need only to look in your backyard to be gifted with the sight of palm trees heavy with coconuts and gumamela flowers in full bloom. Our Pusô Hardin by Rags2Riches was designed as an ode to this natural beauty, both found in the wild and in our gardens.
The tropics have also inspired the kind of materials designers are working with. For example, this year collections were all about raffia, a fibre made from dried palm leaves.
Rustic materials have come a long way from their humble beginnings as accessories to everyday life—baskets, mats, and furnishings. Craftspeople have since innovated to more elegant uses and elaborate designs.
It’s worth considering adding a bag made with rattan, raffia, and jute into your rotation. These natural materials are generally popular during the warm months, year after year. They’re also very durable and considered sustainable fibres to produce. (Not to mention, we think they’re lovely, even when undyed!
One of our favourite summer bags is the Vinia Hardin by Rags2Riches. It can be worn as a fanny pack or cross-body. Perfect for, say, when you’re double-fisting drinks at a beachside bar or winding through crowded markets.
Each design feature of the Vinia tells a tale of Filipino craftsmanship: the strap is woven by indigenous artisans in Ilocos; the body is constructed with woven jute; the flap is woven from upcycled fabric; and the embroidery is done by hand using raffia ribbon and beads!
The Islander Two-Way Shoulder Bag by Island Girl is a no-frills alternative. It’s a modern and minimalist reinterpretation of a rattan basket, while also referencing its history. Artisans in Cebu weave the Islander using the Hapao flat weaving technique, a method originating in the Philippines.
Big Bags Are Back
Itty bitty micro bags had their moment, but we’re so glad big bags are making a comeback! How could you possibly fit a kikay kit*, snacks, tumbler, flats, and a million other essentials into something so small?
We all have an “everyday” bag—one versatile enough to pair with most outfits and always ready to grab and go. A fun twist for warmer months is to opt for classic silhouettes like the Buslo Hobo Bag by Rags2Riches in bold colours like Fuschia, Mustard, and Turquoise. It brings a lot of fun to daily looks!
*A kikay kit is your pouch of make-up, sanitizer, cologne, feminine products, tissues, and anything else needed to freshen up after dealing with the humid climate in the Philippines.
Unexpected Shapes & Bold Colours
Harper’s Bazaar predicts the fan form to trend in the coming months. It’s an exciting departure from your usual tote or clutch.
The hand fan was an important part of historical dress during the Spanish colonial period. It was at once a symbol of modesty while simultaneously a tool for flirtation.
Our Pamaypay Clutch by Island Girl takes its name and its inspiration from the hand fan. Its design pulls from the history and culture surrounding the modest accessory.
Similar to the luxurious fans of old, the Pamaypay Clutch is made with elegant lace. You’ll also see, peeking through the embroidered flowers, the structure of clutch is made from woven pandan leaves typical of your market variety abaniko.
For the modern-day Maria Clara, the Noah Fanny Pack by Rags2Riches is a casual iteration of the fan silhouette. Follow the lead of this literary heroine by using the handy vessel to store love notes and lockets (though we’d recommend cash instead).
According to Vogue Paris, shells have been coming back every few seasons. This year on the runways, it’s pretty big (literally!) in the form of statement jewelry.
Biologists estimate over 22,000 mollusk species can be found in the Philippines.Our islands are a major supplier in the global shell trade—it's easy to see why there's such high demand!
Channel your inner mermaid and accessorize with seashells. Our Makisig Clutch by Island Girl is an oversized shell hollowed out and fashioned into a hard case clutch. The beauty of shellcraft is how it pairs just as nicely with winter outfits! The “glow” of certain seashells can compliment snowy landscapes.
Weather permitting, we’d love to wear these pieces year-round. And, you should!
Wear your florals and bright colours with your bundles of layers—if someone asks, you can tell them “it’s always sunny in the Philippines.”
How are you planning to #WearYourHeritage for Spring? Share your looks with us on Instagram by tagging us @cambio_co and #WearYourHeritage!