As designers continue to crossover from high fashion to street wear through design collaborations, more and more affordable luxury trickles down to fashionistas. Watch out for these new “partners in crime” as you raid fashion dens this fall.
Team Manila and DMC
DMC, a French brand of embroidery threads, reaches out to its younger and wider market as the brand collaborates with Team Manila Graphic Design Studio, a Filipino design studio known for its nationalistic campaigns, through its new project called the Team Manila Designs Collection.
The project is DMC’s first collaboration for the year, following successful and ongoing collaborations with painters Manuel Baldemor and Fernando Amorsolo, said DMC Philippines brand manager Joanne Mercado.
According to her, Team Manila’s 12 designs, featuring its iconic Jose Rizal with shades logo and colorful take on famous local destinations, lend a modern touch to traditional arts and crafts like cross-stitching, making it more appealing to students who patronize DMC products as projects for their home economics class.
“With all the technologies, like the Internet, all around us, we have to remind our youth to go back to basics, to appreciate the value of doing it yourself. Do-it-yourself crafts are not only for self-expression but also a reflection of your self,” she shared.
Besides students, she said hobbyists in their 30s and 40s, estimated to number to over a thousand, keep traditional arts like cross-stitching alive through sharing their designs and tips in online communities and finding new functions for cross-stitching. More than just as a framed artwork, cross-stitches are also functional in bags and T-shirts, she enthused.
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When Japanese casual wear brand Uniqlo opened its flagship store in SM Mall of Asia last month, it made more designer T-shirts accessible to Filipinos. Through the store, Uniqlo fans do not have to go abroad or shop online to buy the latest designs from UT Project, Uniqlo’s limited-edition collection of T-shirts designed by renowned designers, artists, musicians, photographers and other pop culture icons.
Uniqlo Philippines’ opening offerings include crew neck shirts, V-neck tops, tunics, and stoles from its spring/summer 2012 collection designed together with Welsh fashion designer Laura Ashley. The floral prints and patterns of this 1960s and 1970s icon stand out among the store’s minimalist Japanese apparel.
Another 1960s and 1970s symbol, The Beatles, has been remembered via the “Lords of Liverpool” collection, whose prints echo the titles and lyrics of songs composed by John Lennon and Paul McCartney.
UT by Andy Warhol, based on the works of the legendary 20th century pop artist, features colorful shirts printed with different interpretations of Warhol’s Campbell’s soup cans and the like. The use of these Warhol images is under license from the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts Inc., a New York-based non-profit organization promoting visual arts.
In celebration of the release of the third installment of the cult Japanese flick Evangelion this fall, the brand also introduces its UT shirts printed with scenes and lines from Evangelion: 3.0 You Can (Not) Redo. The label also partnered with Metal Gear to commemorate the game’s 25th anniversary, and Marvel to promote the latest silver screen incarnation of The Amazing Spider-Man. Recently, the Korean boy band Big Bang has set a record for selling out all its UT shirts in 15 minutes.
Besides UT shirts, Uniqlo Philippines also boasts of its versatile polo shirts and unique bratops modeled by Filipina actresses Iza Calzado and Nikki Gil. The sweat-absorbent bratop claims to enable women to relish a beautiful bust line without the tightness of a bra through its all-in-one cup that lifts one’s bust cup.
The Japanese’s penchant for order can be gleaned in Uniqlo’s shelves, in which the brand’s signature Japanese-engineered pants are arranged by color, silhouette and waistline for easy spotting and fitting. Such shopping experience is indeed “uniq” and new to Filipinos.
Missoni and Havaianas
Alongside its collection inspired by the new UAAP (University Athletic Association of the Philippines) season, international flip-flops brand Havaianas recently unveiled its new Missoni collection marking its second collaboration with the Italian fashion house.
It was Angela Missoni herself, the brand’s creative director, who suggested the renewal of their partnership because of its global success last year, Anne Gonzales, Havaianas Philippines managing director, said during the collection’s launch in Adora, the exclusive distributor of Missoni and its Havaianas designs in the Philippines.
For the first time since the collaboration started last year, the collection now offers designs for kids made by Angela and daughter Margherita, following requests from parents to also have limited-edition designs for their children, Gonzales explained.
The collection this year is also eco-friendlier, she said, because it is made with residual rubber from Havaianas’ factories. The flip-flops come with boxes and a Missoni knit bag also made of recycled materials.
“For Missoni, the relationship with nature has always been a priority. Living and working closely in touch with the natural landscapes have inspired us to capture the seasons and its changing colors into our designs. At the same time, Havaianas is firmly concerned about reducing waste, re-using and recycling of materials. With this collaboration, it’s indeed a perfect match of both our passions: fashion and respect for nature,” Missoni enthused in a statement.
From a zigzag design last year, the collection now showcases a native-abstract design — still with Missoni’s famous zigzag pattern but with more curves, Gonzales bared.
“The distressed design is a natural effect for using recycled rubber,” she elaborated.
From 250 pieces last year that had been reportedly sold out in a month, the collection now comes in 400 pieces that can be bought in Adora while supply lasts, Gonzales said.
In the past, she said Havaianas has collaborated with the French fashion house Celine, as well as with celebrities Nina Garcia and Courtney Cox for an auction that benefitted a children’s foundation. In the future, she said the brand wishes to tap local talents.
Robin Tomas and Penshoppe
“These are the best years for Penshoppe,” declared the local clothing label’s brand director, Alex Mendoza. This is because, he said, the brand is “leveling up” in its designers and endorsers that have been helping the label get not only more attention, but also bigger sales.
Alongside Gossip Girl star Leighton Meester, among the brand’s latest imports is New York-based Filipino designer Robin Tomas. With mother, actress Tessie Tomas, by his side, Robin discussed how his first collaboration with Penshoppe unfolded.
“This began in New York, in 2010, in a contest where my shirt design made it amid hundreds of entries,” he narrated. “I thought it’s nice to share what I know about T-shirts since it is perfect for the tropics and the Filipino lifestyle. Penshoppe is the perfect avenue for introducing it to Filipinos.”
“We both spent time in New York. Robin is very Filipino at heart. He knows how to design clothes that sell and make an impression,” Mendoza explained why they chose Robin. “When he won in a T-shirt design contest, in which his design was sold in Bloomingdales, we thought he’s a perfect match for Penshoppe because we started with T-shirts.”
The colorful collection follows a palette of subdued neons and contains prints of New York images like the Empire State Building, I love New York and yellow cabs. Besides T-shirts, the range also offers tote bags, fedora hats, tapered pants, lace-up shoes and loose tops with unusual but sexy necklines. As Robin said, graphic tees and color blocking are perfect for the youth who are always on trend and on-the-go.