Homegrown Fashion Brands to Support This Month
If you’re all for helping the local economy bounce back, here’s how you can put your money where your mouth is
Maybe it’s just me. But for a while, there was a bit of guilt tied to shopping during the pandemic. I would constantly catch myself prefacing my purchases with an “in my defense” as though this skincare haul or that new wardrobe item needed to be justified further. Then it was brought to my attention that (note to self: you can unclench now) spending on non-essentials at this time isn’t at all a bad thing. To some extent, it’s even encouraged––that’s if shopping local and independent is kept in mind.
For homegrown businesses, where people decide to spend their hard-earned money can mean the difference between weathering the pandemic recession and closing shop. So beyond catchy #LoveLocal and #SupportLocal slogans, keeping money circulating within the local community does hold lasting power. Think of it as a shopping challenge for the rest of 2020. Should you have to buy at all this year (and hey, why not from here on out?), buy strictly from local brands.
Now, carry on and shop like you’re on a mission. No, really. Do it for the local economy. We’ll start you off with these homegrown fashion brands.
I’ve never been happier about a designer’s hiatus being over. An up-and-comer introduced in the first year of Manila Fashion Festival, Eliz Marcelo quickly became known for her refreshing take on minimalism. (She was also one of the reasons I gravitated toward her corner of SOMA Stores in Green Sun when the fashion-focused pop-up was still around.) Since her temporary departure from the industry, I’ve been holding my breath.
And now, it’s exciting to see that Marcelo’s penchant for elevated classics has evolved quite a bit, though she still showcases that effortless balance between timeless silhouettes and thoughtful, sometimes-unconventional detailing.
Her revamped official website elizmarcelo.com is where you can find The Label (something still in the pipeline for Marcelo so stay tuned!) and The Usual. The latter provides several wallet-friendly pieces you can see as building blocks of a minimalist wardrobe like a straight-cut trouser, a box top and shorts done four ways––all in universally flattering shades. Pieces from the label are available on a made-to-order basis.
Linda Jo is a Manila-based brand founded by two sisters who wanted to immortalize their late mother Linda’s “vintage, quirky-chic” style. It started with the girls sifting through their mom’s old photos from the ‘80s through the early 2000’s––points of inspiration that are now integral to the brand’s DNA.
Available exclusively online, Linda Jo is home to handcrafted footwear that not only appeals to fans of the step-in shoe but those who’ve always longed for the sandal iteration of the party heel. While pieces are not for the color shy, they come in bubblegum pop and rainbow hues that are easy enough to incorporate into the wardrobe (yes, even for the color-averse). The multi-way Wraparound Sandal alone is enough to nudge anyone into becoming a lover of the low heel, too.
Secondhand has never looked this good, in my opinion. At The Library, you get to scour “specially selected vintage and used fashion items sourced from different places around the world.” And the experience window-shopping here brings something different each time.
The Library is stocked with accessories like bags, jewelry and scarves with one-of-a-kind vintage finds here and there if you’re lucky. For clothing, this Bacolod-based store has started off slow and steady with a single denim collection of six pieces (five of which have already sold). We’ll be on the lookout for the next release in this category. Until then, we’ll be ogling one or two pairs of vintage earrings here.
The thought of shopping in the time of coronavirus can be enough to prompt a lifestyle overhaul (or at least, a reassessment of one’s habits as a consumer). This is right up the alley of Studio 17, a sustainable fashion brand that vouches for a lifestyle change that’s long overdue: the return to slower fashion.
Since 2017, it has pledged to close the loop in fashion, taking a more thoughtful approach to creating collections to ensure that nothing goes to waste. Its made-to-order format certainly helps, too, as Studio 17 prides itself for producing only what is requested by its clientele.
Although production of its conscious, classic-cut pieces is on hold until further notice, Studio 17 is still deserving of a spot on this list (and you can lend your support by giving it a follow on Instagram in the meantime).
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Got a homegrown fashion brand that you think Wonder should check out? Let us know in the comments section below.
Art Matthew Ian Fetalver