There’s no one word to describe the Filipino style. Like our culture, our fashion sense has evolved over the years, influenced by history, pop culture, and yes, what’s “in” on TikTok.
And with the country’s thriving community of homegrown designers and brands, we’ve come to discover new styles and unique designs that we didn't know we’d use or wear every day, like the modern Filipiniana organza top, handwoven rattan shoes, banig bags, and upcycled flour sack tops.
Here are three local fashion brands to check out if you're looking for new labels that redefine the meaning of Filipino style.
Whether for your outfit or home, accessories can add a touch of personality, precisely the goal of friends and founders of JIM Weaver: Jenica Siy, Jenica Go Kaw, Isabelle Ocier, and Mischel Ocier Mendoza.
JIM Weaver creates pieces that are like works of art. It started with just selling scarves made of 100% natural silk twill and later extended its product line to placemats, coasters, face masks, and golf shirts.
But what makes their brand stand out? Their uniquely designed pieces are relatable to Filipinos and appreciated by non-Filipinos alike.
“We wanted wearable art. We wanted something that had [a] purpose as well. The functions have a duality,” Isabelle told PhilSTAR L!fe.
JIM Weaver's pieces feature Isabelle's original artwork inspired by all aspects of Filipino culture—from its wildlife and current trends to its everyday stories. More than just a fashion or home accessory, these pieces have pictures that tell a story and spark conversations, like the butanding-shaped Philippine flag, the lechon print, the minatamis doodles, and the tarsier.
“It's got things that are very truly Filipino… We always try to pull on your heartstrings to be like, ‘This is a piece of home for you,’” Isabelle added.
Visit them at www.jimweaverdesigns.com
Solihiya, a woven rattan pattern often used for chair backs and seats, has unexpectedly become a staple in fashion. One of the first brands that started using it in accessories was Orias Studios.
It began when its founder, Vin Orias, discovered a roll of the wicker material during one of his trips to Dapitan Arcade in Quezon City. Then, on a different occasion, he visited his usual ukay-ukay spot in Anonas and brought home a small cylinder bag.
“Inuwi ko siya, sobrang cute kasi. Tapos for some time, nakasabit lang yung maliit na bag na iyon sa kwarto ko katabi nung solihiya. Sabi ko, ‘Parang try ko kaya ilagay yung solihiya sa part nito ng bag?’ Tapos iyon na,” he told L!fe.
Vin, who started as a bespoke formal menswear designer, shared that he was inspired to use solihiya after watching a documentary about fast fashion and wanted to play his part in promoting sustainability.
“I realized na andami natin advantages as Filpinos when it comes to creativity. Sobrang dami nating resources na hindi napapansin,” he stated.
Now, Orias has bags in different styles, shapes, and colors. He has also incorporated the solihiya material in shoes and home decor items. His goal now is to introduce his line to a wider market.
“Yung relatability nung designs namin is for a global audience na may nostalgic presence na pagiging Filipino,” Vin explained.
Visit them at www.orias.ph
AVA the Brand
This mom-and-daughter trio may come from different industries with different backgrounds, but they all share one thing in common: their love for fashion.
Antoinette, Victoria, and Alyanna started AVA the Brand initially as an athleticwear brand, but it later evolved to create everyday, more wearable pieces.
Talking about the AVA woman, Aina Reyes de Castro told Life that she is “someone who’s really confident, empowered and can do so many things.”
“I'm a busy mom, but I like dressing up so I would prefer dresses that I could wear from day to night,” explained Aina, the co-owner.
The brand is committed to making clothes that Filipino women love. It values its customers' input, so it works closely with its community to understand its needs and preferences.
Recently, it collaborated with fashion influencer Camille Co—a first for the brand—to create a 12-piece collection that “can be easily rotated to fit any occasion.”
The line consists of jumpsuits, vest suits, classic trousers, a boyfriend blazer, a skirt, stylish tops, and dresses, and they come in five sizes—XS to XL.
Design-wise, Camille took inspiration from the AVA woman, “unafraid to be in touch with her femininity.” So expect to see pieces that show off skin in the right places and ones that cover the body modestly, like maxi dresses and trousers.
AVA the Brand is proud to create clothing tailored to the Filipino woman, the AVA woman, and Aina hopes that those who wear their clothing will be “ready to conquer the day.”
Visit them at www.avathebrand.com