Looking Past and Looking Forward

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.

 
Habal habal with the gang!

Habal habal with the gang!

 

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.

 
Itneg

Itneg

7 Tribes of Bukidnon

7 Tribes of Bukidnon

Manobo

Manobo

Binudbud

Binudbud

Mandaya

Mandaya

Kalinga

Kalinga

Kalinga
Ga'dang

Ga'dang

 

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.

 
Ayala Museum Filip + Inna exhibit
 

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.

Mabuhay!
Len

Dad, Papa, Tatay, Ama

 
 

Papa would cut out clippings that would interest me. I remember he had given me a clipping about a couple who had built a weaving center in Indonesia - that article planted the seed for the Back to the Loom project.

Papa was in politics more than half his life - he served my hometown with unmatched integrity and respect. So much of what I am now is because of what I have learned from him.

I am glad I get to have this time with my Papa - as we talk about random things and share our love for dark chocolates. I am blessed for the memories that we continue to make.

 
I love you, Papa

I love you, Papa

 
 
Akiko Thomson-Guevara and her father, J. Marsh Thomson

Akiko Thomson-Guevara and her father, J. Marsh Thomson

Nonoy Regalado

Nonoy Regalado

Akiko Thomson-Guevara
Katrina Regalado

Pin it, 'Pinas

Being the Creative Director of Filip + Inna is a visually demanding job. I’m constantly keeping my eyes peeled for anything that inspires me. Taking photos of the design process, the pieces I make, the artisans I work with and the travels around the Philippine archipelago. I’ve collected thousands of images in the past six years and recently they’ve been getting lost in my digital library.

Thankfully, I found Pinterest to help sort me out. Pinterest is a visual bookmarking tool that helps you save images and is also a resource pool to find creative ideas. I use Pinterest as an online moodboard that I can look back at, to find specific photos I've pinned and to draw inspiration from for future collections.

 

My favorite board is my Back to the Loom board because it is a project close to my heart. It is a project that aims to revive, preserve and assist the different Philippine indigenous groups in their weaving traditions across the archipelago. The first project, the Yab Mann Weaving Center was completed and inaugurated on November 2013 in Klubi, Lake Sebu. Yab Mann and her daughter, Elena, are T'boli tnalak weavers who serve as good examples in how they have promoted the T'boli culture through their fabric creations. The Yab Man Weaving center now is home to 12 weavers in the area of Klubi, Lake Sebu, South Cotabato. They continue to train new weavers and keep the the tradition alive.

 

Back to the Loom aims to jumpstart an interest in abaca fabric, and lends support in creating weaving centers for deserving artisans who continue to preserve their weaving traditions. We are currently working on building our second weaving center which will benefit the Tagbanhwa Indigenous group in Davao Oriental.

 

 

Follow the progress of this little passion project of mine on Pinterest. Pinterest is still pretty new in the Philippines so if you don't have an account, you can sign up with my invite. Happy pinning!

 
 
Pin it Pinas