You don’t stop hunting when you get old vintage poster

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5 min readFeb 22, 2021

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Ethical fashion label MAISON METISSE is known for utilizing natural dyes while highlighting the … [+] beauty of local fabrics and fibers.


It was not too long ago when fast fashion giants began to infiltrate the local market. Inside super malls, where most of Philippine life took place, prime spaces of at least two floors were occupied by global brands selling cookie cutter garments. Trends sold at affordable prices was a perceived commodity that sacrificed craft and quality. And it wasn’t only in the country where this phenomenon occurred. It was a universal movement that came with a high price: pollution, poor working conditions for makers, excessive waste, sub par quality, just to name a few. This was the price for the democratization of fashion through mass production.

It was this very realization that gradually shed light on sustainable, ethical lifestyles as the smarter option. In the Philippines where time-honored traditions of weaving, embroidery and craft abound, these ideals are intrinsic. Little wonder that as more thoughtful and intentional products began to take front and center in the global fashion stage, local brands and wares became reliable points of reference. Put simply, i cannot think of a better place to celebrate craft and conscious fashion than in the Philippines. It is second nature to us — consumers, makers, designers and enthusiasts alike.

Admittedly, awareness for conscious living is relatively new in the Philippines, but that’s not to say that our grasp of the concept is in its infancy. A quick look at local brands making sustainable products more accessible to its consumers will reinforce that Philippine makers and designers are forces to reckon in as we invest in the future of fashion. We continue to celebrate fashion for all, but this time more mindfully and with intention.

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When DISENYO DEL SUR launched in 2020, the idea was to amplify female voices of the Visayas (in southern region of the Philippines). Its founders Amanda LuYm and Cacay Moras, have long been in working in luxury fashion through their fine jewelry brand, ALL THAT GLITTERS. When they though to diversify with the launch of an online platform, both women decided it was time to create a special space for like-minded female designers, makers, suppliers and yes, consumers. Amanda shared, “We were only halfway through building a site, and we wanted to continue but we were in a quandary for how to do it. Most importantly how to do it in a meaningful fashion.”

Disenyo del Sur’s PADAYON recreates the malong using contemporary color ways and patterns. Hablon sa … [+] Cebu weaves are utilized make these unisex garments.


They found that products with a positive impact on communities held the answer. DISENYO DEL SUR is more than a multi brand for ethical and sustainable products. Theirs is a dynamic retail eco system that celebrates co-creation, collaboration, connection and conversations on modern living. “We go beyond collaborations. Some of our partners are suppliers for raw materials. We also work with other makers who offer design or manufacturing expertise. Sometimes, we turn to each other for leads in terms of sourcing,”

Blank Canvas Beauty Oil utilizes a proprietary blend of essential oils to ease sensitive, dry and … [+] combination skin types.


Limited edition striped top using local weaves by HOLICOW’s Debbie Palao at Disenyo del Sur


That the platform’s founders have a clear vision for their audience factors into the distinct edit of products they offer. Amanda opined, “I’d like to think that the space we have is one that resonates with women who have their own agency.” She also adds that in creating and curating products for the site, they hope to shape the lifestyle choices of consumers especially following a pandemic. From efficacious face oils blended by Cacay primarily for family and close friends, to genderless garments using hablon weaves, hand beveled soaps and jewelry inspired by literature, science fiction and mythology, you will hear an empowered female voice through limited edition items on DISENYO DEL SUR.

The best-selling Esmeralda Skirt using handwoven fabric from Benguet at FRANKIE AND FRIENDS GENERAL … [+] STORE


It was also at the height of the pandemic lockdowns when I visited the newly opened FRANKIE AND FRIENDS GENERAL STORE in Molito, Alabang. While other establishments were downsizing or simply closing shop, the team behind this intentional marketplace were realizing that now more than ever, the modern consumer needed access to smarter, greener lifestyle options.



Tussled mules using abaca and local weaves at FRANKIE AND FRIENDS GENERAL STORE

Copyright 2019. All rights reserved.

The idea behind Frankie and Friends was to create a creative community of “small-batch creators for slow and ethical fashion, unique find, handmade pieces, and sustainable goods.” There is a wide range of products in stores as well as on their online platform that include: clothing, footwear, home décor, toys, workout gear and even wellness products. Everything is decidedly local from sourcing to production. And the company curates their products so that it is more accessible and easy for consumers to start integrating slow fashion into their lifestyle choice.

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