With the multitude of foreign fashion brands available in Manila, local brands face stiff competition. But recently, through the movement towards consciously buying local, homegrown brands are getting more opportunities to showcase their work to an eager public. Blending contemporary style and traditional Philippine flair, these proudly Pinoy brands create unique fashion finds that’ll make you jump on the go-local trend.
Characterized by pops of color and eye-catching prints, Neon Island‘s pieces are perfect for the fun-loving island girl at heart. The online shopping brand, which began in 2013, is the brainchild of best friends Aira Medina and Chi Gibbs. The creative duo hand-draws all of their prints themselves, which are then translated onto the beautiful statement pieces that comprise their seasonal collections. Rock any of their looks and you won’t go unnoticed.
Putting a distinctly Filipino spin on bohemian fashion is Piopio. This brand’s pieces are wearable canvases for intricate Filipino artistry, creating not only traditionally-inspired pieces, but also using locally-sourced artisanal fabrics in the process. They’ve partnered with weavers and designers all over the country to produce clothes and accessories authentically homegrown. They blend designs appealing to the younger generation of today with traditional weaving techniques to create beautiful, quality pieces.
One of the longest-running brands on this list is the accessories label, Aránaz. The company began in 1998, as a small stall at a weekly bazaar in Manila. Today, the mother-daughter trio (mother Becky and daughters Amina and Rosanna) run a company known for their gorgeous tropical-inspired bags, hugely popular both in the Philippines and abroad. Utilizing local materials and skilful Filipino craftspersonship, they produce sophisticated handmade bags of exotic, vibrant designs.
The city of Marikina in Metro Manila has long been recognized as the country’s shoe capital for the quality shoes produced by its massive shoe industry. Because of the appeal of large foreign brands, however, the city’s products have been overshadowed in the past few decades. Renegade Folk, a shoe brand that began in 2007, revives this forgotten love for local footwear by partnering up with Marikina craftsmen to create sturdy-yet-trendy handmade leather sandals. Sleek designs and A-grade quality, Renegade Folk makes going local a no-brainer.
Kultura, a brand that falls under the vast SM group of companies, focuses on all things Filipino, from fashion to homeware. While most (if not all) SM department stores house a Kultura section, a select few house a stand-alone Kultura store. Their fashion selection is extensive, offering not only beautiful traditional Filipino apparel like woven Barong Tagalog for men and Filipinianas for women, but also a range of accessories like pearl jewelry and intricately crafted bags.
For ladies whose sense of style is effortless-chic, Anika will be their favorite takeaway from this list. The brand is the product of young designer Anika Martirez’s passion for minimalist yet stylish RTW designs. Her versatile pieces are perfect for mixing and matching, and are easily dressed up or down for any occasion. Anika’s designs adhere beautifully to the warm Philippine climate, and the line’s chic, no-frills aesthetic always makes outfits look well-put together.
Risqué Designs by Tal de Guzman is a shoe company that aims to tell the Filipino story. These unique creations are products of the skill and dedication of not only designer Tal de Guzman, but also of artisans from all over the country. Traditional materials – like Philippine silk, weaves, and woodcarvings – are combined to creates custom-made footwear of unique designs exhibiting different aspects of Filipino culture. Ingeniously incorporated in Risqué’s flats and heels are things like endemic Philippine animals and symbols from Philippine mythology.