The long years of colonization has made “Brown Americans” out of us Filipinos in that we tend to patronize products imported from the west over our own. Yes, our technology and artisanship may be a little outdated with some quality issues here and there, but the American mentality infiltrating our mindset makes us forget or neglect our own heritage.
We do have a couple of fashionable brands, which have made big waves in the global fashion industry – and, these world-class local brands make us really proud.
Established in 1987, Bench remains one of the country’s top local lifestyle and fashion brands. Its success is largely due to its hip and pop designs specifically targeted to the young market. Today, Bench is not only successful in the local scene but is likewise making waves abroad with branches in China, Singapore, Middle East, US, Canada, and Guam. Famous personalities like Lee Min Ho, Adam Levine, Mark Mcmahon.
Penshoppe is another Philippine brand that made it internationally. Established in 1986, has since expanded to Dubai and Jakarta, and eyeing expansion in Singapore, Malaysia, and Australia. Their pieces are more on casual look that’s elegantly edgy, neat yet fabulous. Its latest string of international celebrity endorsers includes Mandy Moore, Mario Maurer, One Direction, Cara Delevingne, Lucky Blue Smith, Kendall Jenner, Sean O’Pry, and Sandara Park.
Loalde is the go-to local brand for sophisticated ensembles. It offers casual to semi-formal options in fashion-forward designs comparable to that of international brands like Zara, TopShop, Forever 21, and H&M. With more than 10 outlets nationwide, Loalde has been competing head on with these brands, and remains flexible. It has moved most of its operations from Hong Kong and China to Cebu where it can emphasize their “exclusivity.” Loalde established the brand Fish 18 to cater to the fashion needs of the younger market.
4. Folded & Hung
Folded & Hung boutiques are all over the country’s prime shopping malls. Their collection includes pieces for men and women, which are high fashion yet affordable at the same time. It brings in youthful vibe in many of its ensembles encompassing top and bottom wear as well as accessories. Founded in 1998, Folded & Hung opened its first store in Greenhills and Glorietta and is now one of the country’s dynamic fashion retail brands.
5. Plains & Prints
Don’t be confused. Anne Curtis is now with Plains & Prints, but she was the ambassador for Folded & Hung years ago. Plains & Prints offers a great selection of playful pieces targeted to the fashionable modern woman. It has 74 stores nationwide and sells to international customers through its network of online shops. Presently, it markets to Singapore and Australia via its glocalized ecommerce sites.
Kamiseta is one of the country’s multi-awarded retail brands. It was named Store of the Year in 2000, Top Female Apparel Brand of the Year in 2002, and became Top Teen Apparel Brand in Indonesia in 2008. Kamiseta offers a wide range of clothing, shoes and accessories designed after their driving formula: It’s fun being a girl. It has more than 40 boutiques across the country highlighting cool, casual, and classic wear.
Ensembles is a burgeoning apparel brand by young fashion designer Anthony Ramirez. He rose to fame in the fashion industry after joining the Philippine Fashion Week in 2008 with his edgy, sexy yet wearable pieces. He has been dressing up socialites and celebrities, but has opened his line to the public through his website and online store. He focuses on dresses with unique lines and symmetry, perfectly accentuating the curves of a woman.
8. Vela Manila
Vela Manila carries a stylish line of bags and pouches that embody the Filipino tradition and craftsmanship. It makes good use of various traditional materials such as Yakan fabric from Lamitan, T’Nalak Fabric from Lake Sebu, and Abaca Pinangabol from Dalwangan. Its pieces are innovative yet with a touch of the traditional. Intricately and innovatively designed, Vela Manila pieces are great for both casual and formal functions.
9. The Lost Nomad
The Lost Nomad handmade pieces are is designed for the modern-day traveler. Its bags, wallets and pouches are of vibrant hues and appealing designs in both traditional fabric and genuine leather. Its leather bags are aptly targeted to professionals and those who needed a good size bag for formal events. The Lost Nomad bags are sassy and stylish in every way, with prints and colors that make nature come alive.
Unisilver launched its business in 1995, joining a trade fair in Robinson’s Galleria. It has since then became the country’s household brand of silver jewelries worn by many fashionista Filipinos who want some bling without breaking the bank. In 2005, Unisilver branched out to include fashionable watches of great quality and design for the Filipino market. To date, Unisilver remains the Philippines market leader in silver jewelry and accessories, and is constantly innovating to offer fashion forward and trendy pieces for Pinoys to wear.
Do you agree with our list? If there’s a local fashion brand you have in mind that should make the cut here, please send us a message. We’d like to know if we’ve got our list right.