Using materials sourced from nature, these brands are a unique blend of slow fashion and handmade artistry
Textile weaving and jewelry-making have long been practiced in the Philippines. Tracing back to the pre-colonial era, Filipinos have been creating handmade pieces sourced from nature such as piña, jusi, wood, and pearls to produce intricate items of clothing, handbags, shoes, and jewelry.
From elaborate plant-sourced garments to bespoke jewelry, these local brands of today continue to embrace the tradition of using natural materials and the art of handwoven and crafted fashion pieces, marrying contemporary elements with heritage.
This fashion brand celebrates the hand-weaving heritage of Basey, Samar in Eastern Visayas. It houses designs that feature the centuries-old banig weaving technique, which uses tikog leaves to create sleeping mats. Since it launched in 2018, the Samarnon-based brand has released eight collections with the goal of reimagining the banig for today. Lara Samar creates contemporary designs for bags, shoes, accessories, and home décor.
When a weaver asked museum director-artist and Harvard alum Katte Geneta to bring and share her work to the US, she decided to go the extra mile in promoting these clothes, accessories, and goods. This led to the birth of Narra Studio. “It’s one of my missions to help Filipino artisans and designers to sell their work globally,” says Geneta, a weaver herself. As a woman-owned and women-made brand, it describes itself as being dedicated to the delicate centuries-old tradition of hand-weaving through environmentally-sustainable techniques.
According to the clothing brand’s founders, Paulina Dayrit and Jill Santos, Palengke is all about the makulit (playful) aspects of day-to-day life which is seen in their signature curved accents and multiway styles on their garments such as Sayaw (dance) reversible top, Sitaw (string beans) pants, Regalo (gift) reversible dress from the Kaarawan Collection and Salu-Salo sa Sitaw Collection. Another popular item from Palengke is the Knaur Cube Heels—a fast-moving bestseller—takes inspiration from a common cooking ingredient found in almost every Filipino household.
What started as a school project in 2012, evolved into an enterprise that now offers high-end pieces made out of leather. The brand creates a wide collection of bags for different needs, all handmade by local artisans. It also has apparel, footwear, accessories, and even fragrances to go with each carrier. The Adventure has also partnered with renowned brands such as Warner Brothers Philippines for a range of backpacks and Belo Essentials for their summer line.
Inspired by celestials, this experimental jewelry brand wants to challenge the notion that pearls are exclusively for women. According to the brand, their ethos is about embracing “unisexy,” a term they use to describe how anyone would feel when wearing their custom necklaces. Some of their pieces come in limited quantities per release, including their Pearl of the Orient bracelet and necklaces and the Florist Pill earrings. Based in Cavite and sourcing Philippine pearls, SPACESKULLPIXIE has caught the attention of celebrities and models like Nadine Lustre and Vogue Philippines maiden issue cover girl Chloe Magno.
The Olongapo-based brand creates opulent handmade jewelry with materials sourced across Italy, Japan, and Hong Kong. With its “Luxury is for all” mantra, the brand’s intricate pieces have even graced the décolletage of Miss Universe 2018 Catriona Gray. The concept of Jhaena Jewels as heirloom pieces is an ode to the legacy of Haena Sia-Foo’s mother, “It’s meant to be passed on for generations,” says Sia-Foo.
Penny Pairs’ products are mostly made with recycled eco brass and 18K gold vermeil. Their crowd favorites—the Venus Hoops, Megan Huggies, and Lucia Necklace—have sold out through the years. Timeless and long-lasting designs, their jewelry is crafted using only conflict-free materials. The brand also observes ethical and sustainable manufacturing practices, like inclusive hiring processes and a living wage for workers, plus compliance with multiple international organizations’ regulations.
The brand creates handcrafted jewelry inspired by bohemian and tropical themes. As a brand built by mothers and led by Mai Nadres, it wishes to empower every “ilaw ng tahanan” (light of the home) by providing employment opportunities as well as fair practices within their community such as implementing a work from home setup so that their artisans can find time to be with their families. Boho Manila is also a partner of Kaisahang Buhay Foundation, a non-profit child and family welfare organization that initiates outreach activities and livelihood programs.
Designed for women, men, and children, the brand’s pieces are hypoallergenic, non-tarnish, and made out of 316L steel, a type of stainless steel that’s also used surgically. According to Imono Jewelry’s owners, their extended range of street-style jewelry is meant for everyday use and is available for all skin types. The jewelry brand also has a continued partnership with their longtime brand ambassador Lovi Poe through the Lovi x Imono collection.
Suzette Ayson has been creating artistic and bespoke jewelry since 1995, a skill passed on by her mother Cora de Jesus Malig. Over the years, JMA Jewelry has adorned celebrities and influencers including Nicole Andersson and Camille Co. Now, Suzette passes the torch to her children, Trish and Steph, who are in charge of creative direction and marketing. Beyond custom-made designs for their clients, the jewelry brand has also released collections in collaboration with visual artists Michael Cacnio and Juvenal Sanso. The Jardin collection, an 11-piece set, is an homage to her mother, Cora.
B.O.G. Fine Jewelry
The jewelry brand offers statement jewelry online with Bagful of Glitter and now has two showrooms in Robinsons Magnolia and Alabang Town Center. According to the brand, they “celebrate with you in every moment, empowering you with jewelry you deserve to have .” Worn by the likes of beauty queen Katarina Rodriguez, celebrities and influencers Rhian Ramos, Mimiyuuh, and Kryz Uy, the brand’s signature set of natural diamonds could be seen in anything from tennis bracelets to classic studs.