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Eight Fave Finds of 2018

The proudly Filipino pieces that made my heart flutter this year

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By Pierra Calasanz-Labrador

It was a great year for local finds—and the ever-growing attendance at artisan fairs and intimate pop-ups alike is proof that proudly Filipino design and craftsmanship is getting the attention it deserves. Here’s a round-up of the top finds that especially caught my eye (and possibly even ended up in my own closet!) this year.

Zarah Juan

1. Zarah Juan’s Jeepney Bag. Part of a playful collection of wicker bags that pays tribute to local icons and traditions (takatak, sorbetes cart, padyak, kalabaw), the crossbody Jeepney Bag is roomy enough for your everyday essentials and is a great conversation starter! Tel(+63929) 319-9390, @zarahjuan on Instagram

Jor-el Espina

2. Jor-el Espina’s Bomberong Jacket (the style name combines bomber and barong) was this year’s go-to piece, whether the dress code called for (modern) Filipiniana or one simply wanted to make a chic statement with an updated take on the classic barong. @jorel.espina on Instagram

Frankie 1

3. Frankie and Friends General Store. This fresh and boho modern retail space features a curated collection of charming local brands, from eco-friendly products and handcrafted accessories to organic children’s sleepwear, chic swimsuits, and pretty frocks. Plus there’s an in-store café for the complete leisurely shopping experience. Located at SM Aura Premier

Amami Tambourine Dangle Earrings

4. Amami. Handcrafted with indigenous techniques and made for the modern Filipina, Amami’s romantic tambourin-inspired pieces not only celebrate Philippine heritage jewelry, but also help revive an endangered craft and provide sustainable livelihood to artisans. It’s jewelry that empowers. facebook.com/amami.ph, @amami.ph on Instagram

Anthill

5. Anthill’s Estafania dress. Anthill Fabric Gallery has a knack for turning hand-loomed indigenous weaves into chic, contemporary pieces. This dress was my favorite design this year. Featuring binakol textile, butterfly sleeves (just in time for the terno revival), and a mini length, it’s touted as a refreshing alternative to the LBD. Available at Tesoros, 1016 Arnaiz Avenue, Makati City, @anthillfabric on Instagram

Strange Mercy 3

6. Strange Mercy. This under-the-radar gem serves up gorgeous scarves and great-fitting tees, featuring empowering messages and inspired illustrations with a subtle nod to Filipino culture. strange-mercy.com

Gabbie Sarenas 2

7. Gabbie Sarenas’ Cecilia Bib. Possibly my biggest lust item of 2018, this gorgeous bib features a contemporary take on piña, hand-embroidered sampaguita details, and poetry verses sewn in script, earning Gabbie Sarenas a “Best New Product” award for the fashion category at the Artefino Fair. Available at Guava Sketches, Greenbelt 3

Revival

8 Revival The Label. Fellow local advocate Cat Juan Ledesma tipped me off on this online brand that offers easy-breezy feminine dresses for everyday flair, as well as a capsule collection of evening wear. Our pick: the versatile Madi Wrap Dress comes in several lovely prints, flatters any body type, and is easily a best-seller on the site. revivalthelabel.com

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