If I were to encapsulate the last three years of Filip + Inna in a single word, it would be Growth.
I will always look back on 2013 as the year of sacrifices which translated into blessings. I was consumed with transitioning from an I-Me-Myself operation into a structured business. First on the list was a production manager, and moving into a decent workshop. Thankfully, things fell into place like clockwork. Beth, the person I had in mind as Production Manager, whom I had thought was still working in the Middle East, miraculously appeared at my doorstep two days after I got back from a trip to New York. Was it a coincidence? I think it was God's providential arrangement of circumstances.
The collaboration with Bayo came at the right time as I was looking for a way to introduce the brand in the Philippines. Since 2010, I had been selling primarily in the US. Seeing the billboard of this collaboration along a main thoroughfare was surreal, and more so how the collection was received when it was launched.
Appearing at the ManilaWear upon the invitation of Josie Natori, was an affirmation of our work. I remember meeting the well respected British fashion writer Colin McDowell while visiting the booth. As he looked at the collection, he said, "You have nothing to be worried about!" As if reading my bouts of self doubt.
When 2014 came around, I was ready to plunge head first into work, but I was thrown a curveball and ended up going for treatment in relation to my Thyroid Cancer. Confined in the hospital for a week, with no visitors allowed, gave me good time to reflect.
It is said that we make plans but God determines our steps. I thought I had 2014 all planned out for Filip + Inna, but there was a road less travelled that had to be taken. One thing was clear, I was going to actively pursue other Indigenous Groups, and expand our reach to cover 12 targeted groups around the Philippines.
Before I went on a travel binge around the Philippines, I went for a short trip to my favorite city, to attend a trunkshow at The Plaza Athenee with Indagare. It was serendipitous as one of my first customers at the trunk show was Aerin Lauder, who ended up carrying the brand at her store in Southampton that summer. The shorts were a big hit. They ended up ordering three times in a span of five months!
After a week's vacation, I headed back to the Philippines, fully charged. With Katrina, my Assistant Designer, on board and finally a design studio to call home, Filip + Inna was ready to forge on.
The travels to the different Indigenous Groups was supposed to culminate in a pop-up store in one of the malls in Metro Manila, but plans fell through . It was a big disappointment, but hidden behind it was a better plan. A few days after I accepted the fact that things were not working out for a Filip + Inna Pop-Up Store, I got a call from Ayala Museum with an offer to do an adjunct exhibit for their new collection of Philippine Textiles.
The year ended with a good lesson on acceptance and trust. I had to accept that things were not going to happen as I had planned, but as I trusted, a better plan was revealed. Our cup had runneth over and we are excited to unravel in the coming months what we have been working on.