Go big and go home(grown)
At one point or another, we all fall into the fast fashion comfort zone. Let’s get real: it’s something we’re all privy to. Even as we double-tap designer goods and consciously produced items on Instagram, most of us end up falling back on what is right there on the rack, mass-produced and ready to be worn. After all, what’s a shopper to do when Forever 21 and Stradivarius are just so conveniently positioned beside each other, right? And ooh, is that Bershka right next door?
But, hey. Here’s a thought: shopping at Zara doesn’t have to mean turning a blind eye to your other options.
Ahead, we introduce you to said other options, which might just be the better options. Proudly homegrown and produced in smaller batches or with sustainability in mind, these brands will have you patronizing locally made goods while minimizing your chances of sighting somebody with the exact same blouse as yours. Everybody wins.
In a country like ours, linen can hardly be considered a trend. It’s a way of life. It’s the material you reach for (or the one you should, if you haven’t yet lived your best breezy life) when it’s far too hot to wear anything. Instead of dropping a few of thousands on that one dress everybody and their mom owns, consider scrolling through Studio 17’s offerings. Their linen pieces are sustainable, breathable and made-to-order.
Lo & Behold
There’s no shortcut to chic, but this ought to give you a head start. Lo & Behold specializes in pieces that straddle the fine line between the classic and the trendy. Building on flowing silhouettes, a ruffle here and a knotted detail there, these are kinds of pieces that can easily be dressed up or down. Their impressive selection doesn’t stop at apparel; Lo & Behold also serves up a few shoe and bag options that are well worth a look.
Cora & Bear
The influence of the 90s continues to stand its sartorial ground. Cora & Bear, a locally handcrafted shoe brand, is definitive proof of that. Their sandal styles––which currently range from a square-toed block heel, a round-toed mule, a knotted mule and a columnar block heel with a knotted upper––all feel like a subtle tribute to the decade in one way or another. Even more than the shoe styles, we’re head over heels for Cora & Bear’s colorways. The faint of heart, beware: sunflower yellow, cherry red and Elle Woods-worthy peony is well in abundance here.
Sapatero Manila’s Instagram bio reads, “On a mission to bring back Philippine shoemaking, one pair at a time.” Countering the large-scale production culture that fast fashion thrives on, Sapatero chooses to walk in a different direction. Each pair of shoes produced passes through the hands of their workers and takes weeks of labor to create. While their ready-to-wear styles, which range from classic penny loafers to leather sneakers, only cater to men’s sizing, they have begun extending their made-to-order and bespoke services to women.
The brainchild of the makers of JMA Jewelry, Pranca is sits at the intersection of fine and fashion jewelry. It builds off the best practices and promise of quality that JMA has long been known for and translates these into raw, demi-fine pieces that are more accessible to younger consumers. Currently stocked online and instore at Tropa, Pranca has relatively been a quiet force since the brand was founded. Maybe that’s the magic of it: understated pieces of treasure available to those who know where to seek.
Art Alexandra Lara.