From boot-cut silhouettes to deconstructed jeans, elevate your denim with these five local brands.
A pair of good-fitting jeans is a wardrobe essential, regardless of whether your personal style veers towards Noughties-era Britney Spears or casual Carolyn Besette-Kennedy. For fashion-obsessed Filipinos, there is a myriad of silhouettes and sartorial versatility to choose from among local labels, including polished and preppy tapered styles that work for casual Fridays to chunky styles that can be worn with summer-camp jewelry. From made-to-order denim jeans à la Carl Jan Cruz to archival denim by Léon Denim, here’s a list of five Filipino designers to know.
The Sartorialist: Carl Jan Cruz
Carl Jan Cruz’s clean-cut silhouettes earned him a devoted following, including celebrities such as FKA Twigs who wore his infamous blanket coat. With collections at the eclectic New York retailer Maryam Nassir Zadeh and niche outlets including Toronto-based 100% Silk Shop and Tokyo-based Esmeralda Serviced Department, Cruz put the Philippines on the map in the world of denim. Deconstruction is often the centerpiece of the label’s collections, as well as playful but astute proportions and shape. With upturned hems and zigzagged stitches, Cruz brings an experimental and minimalist edge to your wardrobe. Pair your pants with one of his denim jackets for an updated take on the Canadian tuxedo.
Imma Colarina, who launched her eponymous label IMMA, is known for her precise execution, which makes her reworked silhouettes catnip for those who want unique, even unconventional denim looks. Donning their double-wasted pair, aptly named Two-Tier Jeans, or the skirt-trouser hybrid Pease Porridge will get you noticed in even the most fashionable of crowds, thanks to Colarina’s deft fabric manipulation and crisp tailoring.
Seasoned Minimalist: Construction Layers
An ode to structural, timeless pieces, Construction Layers is a utilitarian take on denim. The Uniform Piped Pants paired with their Window Vest is a denim on denim ensemble that can’t be missed. Through their reinterpretation of classic wardrobe staples, fused with fine tailoring and minimalist aesthetic, Construction Layers’ pieces are fine additions to one’s denim collection.
Slow Fashion: Candle Ray
Candle Ray is a genderless, seasonless, and inclusive foray into denim. A slow fashion brand, the label makes each piece both ethical and personal. By using upcycled fabrics and off-cuts from previous seasons, Candle Ray sews together denim garments with understated silhouettes and ornate details. Incorporating patchwork that demonstrate a wabi-sabi approach to fashion, each collection is sophisticated yet contemporary—the ideal companion to your everyday.
Denim Connoisseur: Léon Denim
Many of us are pining for a pair of Léon Denim‘s old-school jeans. A frontrunner in the denim industry, Léon Denim is the first and only raw and selvedge denim lifestyle heritage brand based in the Philippines. Sourced from Japanese materials, Léon Denim sheds light on the traditional denim processes with impeccable tailoring. With heritage-inspired jeans and a commitment to quality, Léon Denim offers crisp and distinct pieces for those in search for the perfect pair.