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    Style Stories

    Casa Mamas

    Casa Mamas

    To our mommy followers: have you always wanted to travel with your fellow moms minus the kids? Take inspiration from Aliza Apostol, Carmel Villongco, Deux Ciel Bau, Gin Samson, Kat Maderazo, and Leona Panutat aka Casa Mamas who give us a glimpse of their recent trip to Frangipani El Nido. Here, they tell us how their little group was formed and share their tips on looking fab while traveling.

    Tell us a how Casa Mamas was formed.

    Leona: “We all live in the same village and would see each other at mass or other community events. Living in the same community, we decided to carpool to and from events. We got to know one another more and found out that we had a lot in common. We then started taking turns hosting for breakfast and the rest is history.”

    Carmel: “I’ve known almost all of them individually, either through common friends or having done their make-up in the past but it was after our first community wine night (yes, we have that in our village) where we all clicked. Wine really does bring people together.”

    Aliza: “One wine night turned to several and we all bonded in an instant. We all have different personalities that complemented each other.” 

    Describe your personal style in 3 words.

    Aliza: “Summer, chic, and polished.”

    Aliza wearing the Posie earrings 

    Carmel: “Quirky and lots of black with a pop of color.”

    Carmel wearing the Meadow earrings

    Deux: “Functional and simple.”

    Deux wearing the Suki earrings and the Marcia necklace

    Gin: “Classic, neutral, and easy-going.”

    Gin wearing the Rixa earrings

    Kat: “Classic, timeless, and comfortable.”

    Kat wearing the Malika necklace

    Leona: “Easy, relaxed, timeless.”

    Leona wearing the Kari earrings

    What type of accessories are you drawn to? What are your jewelry staples?

    Aliza: “I like jewelry that represents myself like a monogram necklace or a birth stone ring.  I am also drawn to pieces with a tropical vibe because I love the beach.”

    Aliza's beach look: straw hat, a stack of bracelets and the Posie earrings

    Carmel: “I spend a lot on eyewear, whether shades or prescription glasses. I’ve always had poor eyesight and since I’m stuck with wearing glasses, I might as well pick those that fit my personal style. I’m also into head and hair accessories. Turbans, bandanas, and hats are all part of my wardrobe. For fine jewelry, I usually just have my wedding band on. I like to keep it to a minimum since I already have so much going on in my outfit. Plus, my work as a make-up artist keeps me from having too much arm candy.”

    Carmel's beach look: emerald green swimwear, oversized sunnies, printed turban and Meadow earrings

    Deux: “I like accessorizing with a simple set of necklace and earrings, alongside an oversized watch and my Fitbit. My everyday jewelry would be my wedding ring, watch, and pearl earrings.”

    Deux wearing the Suki earrings and the Marcia necklace

    Gin: “Jewelry staples include pearl earrings or a stud, gold initial necklace, and rings on both hands. Every so often, I would wear a statement necklace or bracelet.”

    Gin's picks: Rixa earrings and Corina necklace

    Kat: “I am drawn to small accessories that can be interchanged like charms, pendants, bracelets and rings. I like them even if I don’t wear them a lot. I usually have a ‘flavor of the month’ or season and then I would change into a different set. My staples are silver, white gold and pearl earrings.”  

    Kat wearing the Darla earrings

    Leona: “I like accessories that have interesting little details. Tiny etchings, contrasting stones and textured finishes. If I’m not in good earrings by Heyjow, I’m wearing classic diamond studs. I also wear a stack of rings on both hands that remind me of my family.”

    Leona's pick: the Armina necklace in black

    Any packing and style hacks you can share when traveling?

    Aliza: “One thing for sure is I don’t pack light. I’m the type of person who brings 5 pairs of shoes for a 4-day beach trip! I usually pack my OOTDs based on the places I go to.”

    Aliza's wearing the Posie earrings for her all-white beach look

    Carmel: “I just bring essentials and do layering with thermals and probably bring one or two coats if it’s the winter season. When people look at my photos, it seems like I do take on a lot but I really just wear mostly black with a pop of color. My fave hack is bringing a lot of shades and a good selection of lipstick to add dimension and fun to an otherwise boring black outfit.”

    Carmel's beach essentials include shades and her stash of Dior make-up 

    Deux: “When going on trips, I match outfits on a per day basis and take photos of each set for easy reference. For packing, zip lock bags are the next best thing if no packing cubes are available.

    Gin: “Weather is the most important factor— you should know what to expect. I like basics then layer with jackets and scarves. If it’s a 2-week trip or longer, I plan outfits for at least 7 days and bring pieces I would be able mix and match. I’ve learned to pack light, bringing more neutrals and basics then adding statement pieces for special days or events.”

    A peek at Gin's travel essentials 

    Kat: “For trips, I plan accessories per outfit per day. When I need to pack light, I make sure the accessories I bring will match the other outfits. I pack them individually in a small accessory pouch so it’s safe and yet easy to find.”

    Leona: “I pack light! I list down the itinerary per day along with the expected weather report and plan my outfits around those two. I also make sure to space out the clothes and combinations by including laundry days. I’ve been known to make spreadsheets!”

     Leona's essentials include her Fuji camera and a couple of paperbacks 

    What are your travel must-haves?

    Aliza: “Aside from my phone, I cannot travel without my moisturizer, my flat iron and dry shampoo. You have to be picture ready at all times - even for breakfast!”

    Aliza wearing the Cabra earrings from our Gold Coast collection

    Carmel: “Aside from my selection of shades, black foldable flats which I wear when my sneakers aren’t allowed in a place and it doubles as my slippers, too. I also bring my insulated water bottle because I drink a lot of water and like it icy cold all the time. It’s practical and helps our environment, too. I also bring my traveling Bible for my quiet time.”

    Carmel wears a vibrant one-piece suit with a hoop necklace from the Nayeli set

    Deux: “A large carry-on tote is a traveling must-have for me. I use this to easily stash small and loose items like sunglasses, jacket or scarf while I’m on the go.”

    Gin: “Two to three pairs of shades, scarves, hats, statement accessories, pocket Wi-Fi, eyebrow pencil and lipstick, and a comfy pair of shoes or slides.”

    Kat: “Sunglasses, sunblock, anti-bug bites lotion, reusable bag, and a shawl or jacket.”

    Kat wearing the Dayla necklace in Magenta

    Leona: “My camera, phone, noise-cancelling headset, a good book and a huge block print scarf that can be used as a blanket, dress, cover up and beach mat.”

    What’s the best part of your #GirlfriendsGetaway?

    Aliza: “I am in my element when I’m at the beach. The sun is my best friend, the waves my ally and the breeze my comfort. So, to go on a trip with my Casa Mamas to beautiful El Nido is heaven to me.”

    Gin: “To be able to have fun, relax, let our ‘mommy guard’ down knowing it’s a safe and understanding environment where we can focus on ourselves and indulge in our own lives without distraction.”

    Leona: “Heart-to-heart talks and non-stop laughter.”

    Follow Aliza: @mustlovemom

    Follow Carmel: @carmelsparkle

    Follow Deux: @hey_deux

    Follow Gin: @ginsamson 

    Follow Kat: @iamkatmaderazo

    Follow Leona: @leonapanutat

    Amber

    Amber

    California native Amber Folkman aka A Momma Abroad has been living in the Philippines with her family for the past decade – and she has found a way to turn daily Filipino life into creative inspiration. #PerksofPinas is a community hashtag that celebrates all the good things about living in the Philippines, which has evolved into tailored workshops for people who are seeking positivity, particularly those who are still trying to navigate their way around Manila.  

    Amber shows us around her colorful home and shares with us her insights on building an online community.

    Tell us how ‘A Momma Abroad’ started.

    “I started ‘A Momma Abroad’ in 2015. I started it because we had just moved from our old neighborhood, where a lot of foreigners and expats were living, to Pasig. I didn’t know anyone and my friends whom I hung out with were gone so decided I was going to find all the great things in our new neighborhood."

    Amber wearing the Belarus earrings with the Darazi necklace set

    "I also wanted to show my family back home what our life was like in the Philippines so I began with sharing the places I found on Instagram. It keeps evolving into what it is – I grow with it and hopefully it will just keep getting better.”

    “'A Momma Abroad’ is not a parenting blog. I’m not your person for parenting advice but I am your person for activities to do with your family and loving the place where you live.”

    Amber wearing the Jasmine earrings

    Have you always been interested in arts and handicrafts?

    “I have always enjoyed arts and crafts. Sewing was one of my favorite ways to create. I wasn’t particularly gifted with painting and drawing so I really enjoyed decorating my bedroom and sewing clothes, toys and odd-and-end projects. Since living in the Philippines, I’ve been amazed at the local arts and crafts. I realized I had all these amazing finds at my fingertips – I just needed to go out and find them."

    Amber's home is filled with local handicrafts and colorful weaves

    "As I began decorating and feeling attached to these local handicrafts and textiles as well as their makers, I felt more indebted to the community and the Philippines. I felt an actual attachment to the Philippines and that’s why I’m a big supporter of decorating with local finds. Every time you see an inabel blanket, you feel a positive emotion about it and then you feel positive about where you’re living.”

    Amber loves decorating with vibrant pieces like this yellow inabel tablerunner and 'sari-sari store' pillowcase  

    What’s one place you’ve visited in the Philippines that has inspired you?

    “Some of the most inspiring places I’ve visited are the different weaving communities in Ilocos. Two years ago, we did an Ilocos Norte tour and we went to 4 different communities and it was so inspiring to see local woman use their talent and skills to create beautiful textiles.”

    Amber wearing the Arenas earrings with a conch shell necklace

    Do your travels inspire your DIY projects?

    “I do believe that my travels and living in a different country inspires the way I decorate my home. I’m drawn to cultures and countries that have vibrant colors. I’m also drawn to people that are warm and friendly and that’s why I feel very comfortable living in the Philippines – I really feel at home."

    "When I do travel to a new region or even a new part of Manila, I love discovering a local find and bringing it back and incorporating it in my home. I love textiles and I appreciate getting pieces from places I haven’t traveled to or where I hope to travel to.”

    Amber DIY'd these walls by her home office where you can find books and baskets of different sizes

    “I collect mobiles from all my different travels, most recently from Myanmar and Cambodia, which I hang in my children’s room. They add an element of design to our home that reminds that we’re not just from one country but we’re part of an entire world. Another element that inspires me in my DIY projects is color. I like having white walls as a blank canvas then adding something bright and vibrant around it.”

    Inside the kid's playroom 

    Mobiles from different countries can be found in the kid's play area

    Can you tell us what inspired #PerksofPinas?

    “I wanted to narrow down what my dominant voice was with ‘A Momma Abroad’ and our online community was really supportive of sharing my perspective on finding daily magic. As a community, we decided on this hashtag #PerksofPinas and that was to help us look for the positive things whether it’s on your walk home to and from school or at your palengke and you see a really pretty walis tambo. I was at a wet market in Kamuning and I saw these beautiful brooms woven in bright colors. We don’t have beautiful brooms in America. That is a perk of Pinas. That is beauty and daily magic that can be specifically attributed to the Philippines.”  

    Amber wearing the Sundari necklace

    “Whether it’s a Manileno or a foreigner, sometimes people have a hard time living in Manila. We can have a list of all the things that are frustrating about Manila but let's not forget about all the great things about Manila, too. The ‘Perks of Pinas’ workshop is to get people together and look at the skills they already have to find these daily bits of magic and actually love where they live."

    "There’s a term in environmental psychology called ‘place attachment’ and it’s the relationship you have with your place and I’m fascinated by it. You do these tiny experiments to help create a positive relationship with where you live. ‘Perks of Pinas’ is a space where we teach that. We give them a positive perspective and help them see that Manila is a liveable city and that they can find happiness here.”

    Amber wearing the Sundari necklace with the Nueva earrings

    Will you be having a new workshop soon?

    “I have a new workshop coming up in June called ‘Celebrate Perks of Pinas Gracefully’. That will be around the same week as Philippine Independence Day. It will be about celebrating all the uniquely Filipino things that we have here like arts and crafts and cultural practices like pasalubong."

    Amber wearing the Belarus earrings, Mitara necklace and Vieques ring

    "Gift-giving is my love language and when I hear this term from Filipinos, I feel that I understand them and they understand me. I’m also working on a super secret project for people who can’t come to the workshops or for those who need some type of support to help you find #PerksofPinas daily, which will be done by the end of the year. Until then, Instagram is a great place to connect with other people who are part of this community.”

    What are your top 3 #PerksofPinas?

    “Number one, endless summer. I don’t like cold weather. I’ll be happy even if I never see snow again. My second one is the people. The Philippines really is unique and Filipinos are generally warm, friendly and happy. I love that they are family-centered. My third #PerksofPinas that I’m sure no one is surprised about is suman. I love it and I can eat it any time of the day.”

    What’s your advice to people like you who started out with a blog that evolved into a community?

    “Don’t be a know-it-all. When you have a community, you might be a facilitator, in some cases you might be the torch-bearer, but you’re never better. Whatever you want to share, be equally as open to receiving that knowledge. I have learned so much and I never want people to think that I’m telling them ‘You should love this, you should do this, you should buy this.’ I just want to share a perspective of positivity and have others share that with me. As much as you are the facilitator, the leader or the sharer, also be the student and learn from your community.”

    “Just be real. Be wise about it and hold a space for other people to also be that. People need to see more of that online and it goes a really long way. When you are truly who you are and you present yourself that way, there’s nothing to hide and be unsure of.”

    Amber wearing the Boca earringsSundari necklace and Vieques ring

    “Also, make art every day. Do something creative every day. I am a terrible artist – I can’t draw but I buy art books that help me draw every day. I’m not good at it but I love it. If you're someone who has a career or a role that dominates a lot of your time – let’s say you’re a parent or you’re working in a call center all night – if creativity speaks to your soul, keep a little bit of that for yourself. Do something that ignites that creativity within your soul even if it’s just drawing something that takes 10 seconds or cooking something with a new ingredient.”

    Follow Amber: @amommabroad

    Photography by Sheila Catilo (@sheilacatilo) 

    Amina and Rosanna

    Amina and Rosanna

    Aranaz is known for its iconic statement bags proudly made of traditional Filipino materials – and now the brand is about to celebrate its 20th year in the industry with an exciting new clothing line in the works.

    Sisters Amina Aranaz-Alunan and Rosanna Aranaz share with us how their family fashion brand has evolved into an international name that evokes a leisurely lifestyle and how social media has helped them expand to the global market.

    How did the brand start?

    Amina: “It started because our mom had a manufacturing and export company and when I was in college, at that time Rosanna was still in grade school, we thought of selling our mom’s products in Christmas bazaars. It was a really fun family endeavor – Rosanna and I, along with our brother and our mom, would do the setting up and selling ourselves and that bazaar was so successful. After a year, we thought of creating our own brand since our mom won’t have extra bags all the time for us to sell and decided to name it after our family. And now, the brand is celebrating 20 years this year.”

    Amina wearing the Pierra necklace

    How has the brand evolved since then?

    Amina: “In terms of developing the brand, it was really an evolution because there was a time that we just saw it as a family fashion brand. All we knew 20 years ago was that we were a family fashion brand that created products showcasing Filipino materials. That was it. To evolve into a more definitive direction that represents a resort or leisurely lifestyle only happened in the recent years.”

    Aranaz bucket bags from their Geo Garden collection

    “We made a conscious decision to take that position. I remember when our brother was still involved with the brand, he kept trying to drill us through a branding exercise because his background was in advertising. At that time, I didn’t fully understand what those concepts meant. It’s only in the recent years that I understood what he meant about how to have a strong brand positioning.”

    Amina wearing the Rocasa earrings

    “Back then, we didn’t want to lock ourselves in one box and say that we are just a summer brand. Now, we realize we are not just a summer brand just because we occupy the leisurely space. There are different ways in the future that we can expand that space.”

    Aside from bags, Aranaz also has home and lifestyle items such as plates and cup and saucer sets

    Statement pineapple purses

    What are your roles and how have these evolved with the company?

    Rosanna: “I handle our international sales so this began when we started doing all our trade shows abroad and we started getting more international attention. I handle all the buyers and international sales orders from all the different boutiques. I also handle branding and IT."

    Rosanna with the Alana bucket bag and the Marjoram necklace set  layered with her own name necklace

    "Our brand is still very small so we tend to do a lot of things on our own. For example, we still do our website ourselves. We have our own studio for our product shots. We’re very hands-on when it comes to the design of our store windows and interiors.”

    The Aranaz store in Powerplant Mall is one of their three local branches 

    Rosanna wearing the Curva necklace set layered with her own name necklace

    Inside the Aranaz store in Powerplant Mall

    Amina: “Rosanna also handles the graphics because she’s more skilled than me in creating visuals. I think it’s because she’s younger so she knows how to create an image that is more now and speaks to a younger audience. Many times, especially when it comes to imagery such as coming up with a look book or curating our Instagram feed, I’ll ask her for her opinion on how it can appeal to millenials. Even if our brand does cater to a certain market, we always want to move younger.”

    Amina wearing the Quita choker with a clam shell necklace from the Montesa set

    Bucket bags from Aranaz's latest collection called Tiki Seashell

    Amina: “Before, I was just purely on the design side. My mom was very involved before so there was a time when my mom was managing everything because we were in school and I was building SoFA Design Institute. When I had the time to be more involved in Aranaz, that’s when my mom focused solely on the production side. Aside from designing, I’m also managing the business as a whole.”

    What does a typical work day look like for you?

    Rosanna: “Both of us are from the south so we don’t always go to the office. We don’t really schedule things together because we’re always chatting on iMessenger and Whatsapp anyway. I can do a lot of my work at home so I can just call or text her. There are no set hours for us.”  

    Amina wearing disc and puka shell layers from the Taveuni set; Rosanna wearing the Kazari 3-layer necklace

    Amina: “A lot of our planning happens through our phones. This morning, I woke up with an idea and I messaged her about it. So we have a new project for the brand, which we came up with while having breakfast. That’s how it works. When we do decide to meet at the office, it’s also when I set meetings with the rest of the team. Generally, she’s at the office more often than me because I also have to go to SoFA.”

    Tell us more about your latest collection.

    Amina: “When I was creating it, I really wanted it to evoke a more raw and natural feel. I wanted it to be a celebration of summer and the feeling of being at the seaside. Initially, I wanted it all in natural – sand-colored and straw complemented with the texture from the seashells and woven seaside animals. That was my first set of designs. I wanted to see if I can push it that way. But when other people started seeing the collection, I knew I couldn’t do a full natural collection and that’s when I injected some color.”

    Kaia bucket bags in natural and yellow and the Merida clutch

    Left: the fully embroidered Naya clutch made of tinalak and raffia

    “It’s called the Tiki Seashell collection. It has a bit of a Hawaiian feel because of the fringes. One of the first bags that I designed, which I consider a pillar of the collection, is the Stella bucket with 3 levels of fringes that call to mind a hula skirt. I added wicker starfish on it because I imagined it as a hula girl with a starfish-shaped bra top."

    The Raia bucket made with abaca and raffia

    How was your experience with expanding into the international market?

    Rosanna: “We are lucky because we are in the age of Instagram. In fact, one of our first accounts discovered us through our Instagram profile. We managed to tap other boutiques as well as international publications all through social media so we are very thankful for that. When we saw the reception of the international market, we took a brave step and tried joining trade shows. We joined trade shows in Paris and New York and it’s going to be our third season this year. We were very nervous during our first season but it was received well and we managed to get several accounts through that.”

    Rosanna wearing the Marjoram necklace set  layered with her own name necklace

    Amina: “From the very start, the big dream was for Aranaz to be an international Filipino fashion brand but we didn’t know how to do it. We’re a 20-year old brand but we were only able to penetrate the international market in the last 3 years. Social media was what opened it up for us. Prior to that, we really didn’t know how to do it. There aren’t a lot of success stories in the fashion industry that we could refer to or consult with. Many times, it was all self-discovery with hits and misses.”

    “What we’d always hear from other Filipino designed brands that go international is that we have to join trade shows and be visible even if we don’t get orders during the first season.”

    Rosanna: “We also joined some shows that we thought would be good for us. I guess it’s really knowing what kind of trade show you should be joining instead of joining whatever lands your way.”

    Rosanna wearing the Kazari necklace set and Vivero earrings

    Amina: “There were a couple of trade shows that we joined 3 times but we didn’t get a single order. But we persisted because we kept hearing that we need to continue. There’s no formula on how to go international. One of the main factors for us was taking that first step and deciding that we will do it.”

    What’s the best thing about working together?

    Amina: “I think we have the same vision and the same work groove. I know I can text her something work-related even at midnight.”

    Rosanna: “Well, we were brought up by the same mother so we have the same way of thinking. We understand the brand and we know exactly what we want for it so in a way we get each other when it comes to the brand. Like this morning, she just had to name something and I could already envision it without her having to expound on it.”

    What are your plans for Aranaz this year?

    Amina: “We are trying to launch a clothing line this year to be sold in our stores. We want to do a trial run for the local market. Also, we hope to celebrate our 20th year towards the last quarter of the year.”

    Amina wearing the Halma single necklace layered with a disc necklace

    What are some of the self-care rituals that help you relax?

    Rosanna: “I love getting a foot spa or a foot massage and getting my hair done. I like to sleep early. I sleep at 9pm. I like to travel, too. For me, that’s the best way to unwind.”

    Rosanna wearing Heyjow statement earrings exclusively available at Aranaz 

    Amina: “I like to have a glass of wine or a bottle of beer. One thing that I also make time for is getting a facial. I don’t get to do it as often as I can and when I do, that whole day becomes my self-care day.”

    Amina wearing the Rocasa earrings

    What are your tips for aspiring designers and those who want to tap the international market?

    Amina: “One is you have to define your creative voice. Try to see what you’re doing differently and how it can be relevant and attractive to the international market. I still believe that it helps to look into Filipino culture - see how you can take elements from it then modernize it when you create your position in the fashion market.”

    Rosanna: “Be brave and don’t be afraid to take a risk. Even if your first buyer rejects you or your email to a department store is left unanswered, don’t let that discourage you.”

    Amina: “When we started this entire journey of making Aranaz international, we created a wish list of stores where we want our products to be. We didn’t know how to reach some of them but we were able to put checks on that list.”

    Rosanna: “Sometimes everything just falls into place.”

    Amina: “I think it’s important to visualize it and be concrete about what you want, and of course, pray for it and ask for guidance. I really believe that when you’re able to concretize and talk about your dreams, that’s how it can come true.”

    Follow Aranaz: @aranaz_ph

    Follow Amina: @aminaaranaz

    Follow Rosanna: @rosannaaranaz

    Photography by Sheila Catilo (@sheilacatilo)

    Tin of Locavore

    Tin of Locavore

    Locavore Kitchen & Drinks is not your typical Filipino restaurant – and it has quickly become known for its unique take on local cuisine. Now with 5 branches, Locavore has become a favorite stop for families and friends who want the comforting sense of Filipino food with an added zing.

    We caught up with Locavore co-founder Tin Magsaysay-Matic at their tropical-inspired S Maison branch where she shared with us how her ‘experiments’ in the kitchen turned into bestselling dishes and why she believes it’s important to pursue seemingly unrelated passions.

    How did you come up with the idea for Locavore?

    "My partner Alta Lyttle and I had the idea to open a restaurant. During our meetings, we discovered that the recipes we knew how to make weren’t traditional or conventional Filipino recipes – everything had a twist. We didn’t really plan Locavore to have that kind of concept."

    Tin wearing the Montura prism in aventurine layered with her own necklaces

    Have you always been passionate about food?

    "I’ve always loved food. I started cooking when I was 8 years old. Our family would always cook together and we would spend almost every weekend in Zambales."

    "Growing up, I learned how to make do with what we had at home. I didn’t really have a lot of money to buy groceries because I was still in school so I would just use whatever I could find in the kitchen."

    Tin wearing the Aquina earrings with the Soleya and Montura necklaces

    "That’s how a lot of the recipes on Locavore’s menu came about. I used to be addicted to caldereta and I would add different ingredients to give it a twist each time like ginger, hoisin sauce, or a lot of raw garlic."

    Locavore's Ginataang Kalabasa, one of Tin's favorite dishes 

    Locavore's take on the classic Filipino merienda champorado made with cream cheese mousse and fish floss 

    "Most of the time, I had to improvise and that’s how I came up with the recipes for the Sugpo con Mayonesa, the Ginataang Kaldereta, the Garlic Baby Squid and the Lumpia."

    Tin wearing the SoleyaMontura and  Oceania necklaces

    What’s your philosophy when it comes to cooking?

    "I get a lot of inspiration from my dad. I recently watched Samin Nosrat of ‘Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat’ and I really like her. I like relaxed cooking – not so serious, not so scientific. For me, it’s more about the gathering of people or the social aspect than the science behind it."

    Tin wearing the Aquina earrings 

    What does a typical day look like for you?

    "For Locavore, my partners and I usually spend 3 to 4 consecutive days in one branch. If I’m at S Maison, my sister Carla would be in Brixton and Alta would be in BGC. We opened our Eastwood branch recently so we’re giving that location more focus."

    Tin wearing the Pinta Earrings with our Bamboo Monogram necklace layered with a minimalist bar from the Montura set

    Can you share some of your self-care rituals?

    "I feel like it’s self-care when I spend time with my kids because I love being with them. Aside from that, I love going to the beach and surfing."

    Tin wearing the Jasmine earrings with the Solita necklace

    Are you planning on putting up other business concepts?

    "Aside from Locavore, I have a resort wear line called Quiver, which is available online and in Rustan’s, Kermit in Siargao, LU Open House and Vessel Hostel in La Union, and at Aliya Surf Camp in Baler. I also have a sunglasses line called Fin Sunnies available in those locations, too."

    "Right now, I’m working on a pop-up for babi guling or Balinese lechon. I want to test the market first because a lot of people don’t know what it is. I’m thinking of doing 3 or 4 pop-ups this year. I also want to open a sustainable take-out counter where you can bring your own bags and bottles to raise awareness about single-use plastic and promote a zero-waste lifestyle."

    Tin wearing the Antigua earrings with the Sidra and Solita necklaces layered with her own medallion necklace

    What are your tips for aspiring entrepreneurs?

    "If you have an interest, whatever it may be, even if you think it’s useless for business, just keep doing it. It’s never useless. As long as you continue to work on things that you’re passionate about, I believe it will lead you to something bigger."

    Visit www.locavore.ph for more information.

    Follow Locavore: @locavore.ph

    Photography by Sheila Catilo (@sheilacatilo)

    Feanne

    Feanne

    Nature can truly be an endless source of inspiration – and this is true for creative entrepreneur Feanne. She fell in love with drawing at a young age, captivated by minute details she would find on different kinds of plants. She nurtured that love as she grew up and eventually turned her drawings into vibrant wearable art that bears mesmerizing details.

    Feanne tells us about the meticulous process involved in creating her luxurious hand-illustrated pieces and her tips on making both business and creativity sustainable.

    How did you discover your passion for art?

    “Since I was young, I really enjoyed drawing plants and animals. I took interior design in college but I didn’t pursue it. There was a point when I tried to shift to fine arts while I was in UP but I didn’t pass the talent test so I had to stay and finish it. I don’t regret it because it helps a lot with project management and both the technical and business side of a creative career. But I really just wanted to keep drawing and that’s basically what I do now.”

    Feanne wearing her 'Sabong' dress with the Lyria earrings

    How did you start doing it professionally?

    “I had my first exhibit when I was in third year high school – it was a group exhibit with some friends. After that, I continued exhibiting and publishing my work through the years but it was only a few years ago that I started fabric print design."

    "When I was in college, I already wanted to do fabric prints but back then, I didn’t have access to printing suppliers. I was able to do some t-shirt prints but it wasn’t quite what I wanted to do. It took me a long time to find the right printing suppliers and even now I think the fabric printing industry in the Philippines is still young. If you’re an independent business and you’re not doing a thousand-meter print run, it’s a bit challenging to find a local printing supplier. I’m lucky to have found the suppliers I’ve worked with."

    "There was a point when I tried to shift to fine arts while I was in UP but I didn’t pass the talent test so I had to stay and finish it. I don’t regret it because it helps a lot with project management and both the technical and business side of a creative career."

    How did you get idea of creating wearable art?

    "I focused on creating things that I wanted to wear and that’s still my process now. I get cold easily so I like things that I can use to cover myself up."

    "Scarves and kimonos are versatile and very easy to wear – I can wear them to different occasions and they’re not tied down to one season or even age range." 

    Feanne wearing her Nautilus kimono kimono with the Acuaria necklace and puka shell layer from the Coralline necklace

    "I have clients who tell me that they can wear my designs from now until they’re grandmothers and I feel the same way."

    What is your creative process like?

    "I get inspired by everything I see in nature. It may look boring to someone else when they see me looking at an ordinary leaf but then it’s details would be interesting for me. I’m more inspired when I’m traveling to the beach, for example, where I see different kinds of seaweed, rocks and shells."

    Feanne wearing her Swallows kimono with our Bamboo monogram necklace

    "When I see something interesting, I take some quick reference photos on my phone or do a quick sketch on the spot. Then I will do some more sketching and then do an ink illustration. Sometimes I go straight to ink, which depends on my mood, and that allows the lines to feel a bit more playful compared to doing a pencil sketch."

    "After I do my drawings, I scan them and do the layout and colors digitally. Then I design a pattern, do a test print, then depending on how that turns out, I might go back to the drawing or layout and do some adjustments until I get the print right. There are some things you won’t see until it’s actually printed on the fabric such as the scale and the colors so it takes a while to develop a new product. Once I’m happy with the fabric print, then I test and see how it goes with the cut of the dress or garment that I’m making and that’s another round of iterations as well."

    Feanne's picks from our Gold Coast and Monogram collections with her 'Sabong' print

    Feanne's picks: Acuaria necklace, puka shell necklace from Coralline necklace set, Lyria earrings, Kamalei earrings, Bamboo monogram necklace, and Antigua earrings in magenta

    What are you currently working on?

    "I’m actually taking a break at the moment since I had a very busy holiday season last year. I’m taking this time to relax and doodle what I want to doodle and not worry about product development yet. I have some ideas but they’re still in a very rough stage. Right now, I’m exploring and experimenting to see what I want to do next."

    Aside from silk scarves and kimonos, Feanne's drawings are also incorporated into accessories such as clutches

    As an artist, do you find it essential to take breaks?

    "Yes, definitely. Since this is my full-time career, it’s not just art – it’s also a business. Of course, being a business means having deadlines and quotas that I want to meet in order to make a living. But at the same time, I also need to make the creative process sustainable and that includes taking breaks."

    Feanne wearing her 'Sabong' dress with the Antigua earrings and disc layer of the Coralline necklace

    "For January, I’ve just been doing a lot of resting, making small drawings and working out. When I’m busy, I don’t really have time to exercise so I’m taking advantage of the lull to take care of myself. I think you’ll find this complaint common among artists – we have problems with our wrists, shoulders and back because of poor posture so it’s important to take care of one’s physical health to avoid repetitive stress injuries. I do core-strengthening workouts, physiotherapy and get massages because I do a lot of detailing and it’s very tough on my wrists and shoulders. I really wish I had started working out properly when I was younger. I neglected to train my body’s flexibility, strength, and posture. It’s only now that I’ve started realizing and proactively addressing these issues because I learned that it does affect my physical ability to do my work."

    "When I can afford to, and at the moment I can, I take several weeks off and make use of that time to recharge, ‘fill the well’ with creative ideas, and take a step back from the work I’ve done so I have space for new ones to come in. If you’re always immersed in the same type of work or industry, it’s very easy to get trapped in a bubble and you don’t get exposed to new ideas from completely unrelated fields."

    What are your tips for artists like yourself who want to build a lucrative career?

    "I’m still in the process of figuring out if this is something sustainable and lucrative for myself. I don’t think I can answer that question without talking a little bit about privilege. Any kind of entrepreneur would have to weather financial instability for several years. You need a safety net while you’re weathering your unpredictable income and figuring things out. In my case, I was very privileged to have a supportive family. They supported me through those years and they’re still very supportive of me now."

    Feanne wearing her Swallows kimono with our Bamboo monogram necklace with the Lyria earrings

    "I would say I’m mostly financially independent in the sense that I don’t have to worry about where my next meal will come from, which is a reality for a lot of people. If you want to have a lucrative career as an artist, you have to be aware of how much financial insecurity you will have to weather, especially at the start of your career. A safety net, which can be in the form of other people supporting you or a day job, can help you as you go through periods of instability."

    Feanne wearing her Nautilus kimono with the Kamalei earrings

    "Many artists today, like myself, have to juggle a lot of roles. I’m an artist, and I’m also a business owner. I don’t have employees, so I also do everything that I can’t outsource. Bookkeeping, filing taxes, budgeting, marketing, networking, client relationships. Developing myself as a creative and as an entrepreneur. I personally pack and ship orders, deliver items to stores where I consign, and answer inquiries. If you’re an artist/entrepreneur today, you can probably relate."

    "I find it very challenging to preserve the mental bandwidth needed to engage in creative work, in the midst of all these other types of work I also need to do. But my creative work is the core of what I do. Everything else depends on it. And when I nourish my creative work with deep care and attention, that care and attention naturally flows into all the other work I do around it. In my illustrations, I go very close in with the details, but I also step back and check the overall composition and flow, and how one part relates to every other part. The same can be applied to all the other aspects of my work."

    Follow Feanne on Instagram: @feanne  

    Photography by Sheila Catilo (@sheilacatilo)

    Feanne's pieces are available at Othello.ph in Rockwell and on http://feanne.com