By Chere Di Boscio
Possibly best known sartorially in the West for having a shoe-mad former first lady, today the Philippines are increasingly on our fashion radar for not only producing exceptional fashion, but exceptional sustainable fashion at that.
Filipino designers like Michael Cinco and Furne One are becoming red carpet favourites for the likes of Katy Perry, Jennifer Lopez and other major A-listers, whilst others, like Joyce Pilarsky and Ezra Santos are becoming known for their sustainable couture. All of these Filipino fashionistas have incorporated Pinatex, the hottest new ‘green’ fabric, into their work. This is derived from pineapple waste, and yep, you guessed it – it’s from the Philippines.
Most recently, Fashion Philippines made its debut at Paris’s prestigious Maison et Objet show, with a collection that showcases a sustainable fashion philosophy and an eco-luxe aesthetic. This is the first time that such an exhibit, devoted solely to fashion accessories, has ever been seen at the event.
Entitled Reimagined Traditions, this showcase highlights 10 fashion-forward Philippine brands presenting modern interpretations of Philippine jewellery and bags, made with natural materials, locally-sourced, and using only sustainable production techniques.
This show is also a tribute to generations of artisanal skills from the country’s main regions: Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao. Each represent the diversity that is the Philippines, reflecting an intertwined story of passion for craftsmanship, including rattan and cloth weaving, macramé and stone-setting and more.
For example, Mia Arcenas‘s Spring 2017 jewellery collection was inspired by nature, and the designer employed her signature materials—mainly shells and resin. “It is about nature as being the source of all things beautiful, and with the help of technology, we are able to adapt these organic ideas to our ever-changing world,” Arcenas explains.
Floreia’s collection also shows their commitment to sustainable fashion. The brand brings its eco-conscious slant to the spotlight with a series of casual jewellery and bags that are handcrafted using their award-winning, patented technologies—Nucast®, which is made from recycled paper products, and Naturecast®, made of agro-forest debris.
With such designers bringing their indigenous knowledge of different skills, materials and traditions to Paris, and their talent for twisting these into modern interpretations of artisanal crafts, Reimagined Traditions is the one show that promises to blast any residual memories of a certain Mrs Marcos from collective memory, and redefine what we know about Philippine fashion forever.
Main image: miaarcenas.com