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Pierra Calasanz-Labrador
Pierra Calasanz-Labrador
Fifi's Finds

Fringe benefits

Shoeholics, have you discovered Fringy yet? If you’re quite adventurous with your footwear and love changing up your looks, meet your new sole mate. These ingenious detachable shoe accessories are brought to you by super-chic shopping buddies/entrepreneurial duo Michelle Hui Lao and Yendy Venturina Yu. Michelle shares, “On one of our numerous shopping trips together, we chanced upon these adorable Prada brogues that had detachable fringes/kilties. I remember thinking, 'Hey, this would be a fantastic way to dress up our sneakers and lace-up shoes.'” When Michelle and Yendy made themselves a pair each for their personal use, they had a eureka moment when they realized they could market and sell these nifty creations, and Fringy was born. “This is a prime example of retail therapy at its best!” Even before they officially …

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Weaving dreams

A few years ago, we stumbled upon a precious little fashion, lifestyle, and fabric boutique in Cebu called Anthill Fabric Gallery. Anya Lim, Anthill’s co-founder and creative director, told us that by turning traditional hand-loomed fabrics into contemporary apparel, they aimed to provide sustainable livelihoods for local communities, preserve our culture, and encourage people to “wear your tribe with pride.” (Incidentally, Anthill actually stands for Alternative Nest and Trading/Training Hub for Indigenous Ingenious Little Livelihood Seekers.) With a passionate mission, a solid business plan, and uniquely Filipino, fashion-forward apparel, Anthill has grown into a successful social and cultural enterprise, as well as a cult favorite brand that is making it hip to wear Filipino weaves. If you’re one of their loyal Manila-based fans who have to order online to get your …

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Fall fashion must-haves

We just blinked, and the -ber months are already here, ushering the layered looks, outerwear, and deeper colors of the season. Looking to update your wardrobe for work, play, or travel? Minimalist Japanese brand Uniqlo has always been one of my trusty go-to sources for scoring high-quality basics without breaking the bank, and this fall season is no exception. At the press preview for Uniqlo’s Lifewear fall/winter 2016 collection, we chatted with Uniqlo Philippines’ general manager Geraldine Sia, who tipped us off on the key must-haves for this season. But first, Sia clarified that instead of blindly following fashion trends from the runways, Uniqlo looks into what suits the contemporary lives of their customers best. “Our customers want to be relevant with the times. Uniqlo is looking for trends that are …

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So kawaii

When I look back at the local fashion landscape of the 1990s, I inevitably think of Grocery, the now defunct hole-in-the-wall streetwear boutique of entrepreneur and lifestyle blogger Cecile Zamora van Straten. This was before she dominated the virtual universe as Chuvaness. In a time when originality wasn’t as encouraged as it is today, Cecile already rocked an avant-garde, quirky-cool look all her own, and Grocery (and its Glorietta reincarnation, Defect) was one of the few treasure troves for those with more adventurous style sensibilities. Cecile then went on to document her style finds, travels, and refreshingly candid observations on Chuvaness.com, and what initially started out as a hobby 15 years ago has grown to be one of the most influential lifestyle blogs in the Philippines. She’s been a local …

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Time to be (AT) maarte again!

If you like scouring the archipelago for awesome Filipino finds, this event gathers the best our local craftsmen and up-and-coming designers have to offer, all under one roof. Mark your calendars for the highly anticipated MaArte Fair, happening this August 26-28. Now on its eighth year, this prominent craft fair will be held at a swanky new venue—The Penthouse of 8 Rockwell in Makati City. Over 70 retailers have been handpicked to showcase their items, many of which are only available to overseas buyers or simply have no venue to present their work, so don’t miss your chance to catch them. Organized by the Museum Foundation of the Philippines, this annual fundraiser provides a venue to support “export-quality” products, while raising funds to support the National Museum, as well as the …

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The basics of being beautiful

“After all that glam, I felt like dressing down,” said the invite to the launch of Amanda Griffin-Jacob’s new website. I was definitely intrigued. We’ve pretty much all been a witness to the trajectory of Amanda’s bright career—from a self-described shy teen model, to a self-assured Channel V International VJ and TV host (remember the local lifestyle show F?). Ever the dynamic, enterprising soul, she also dabbled in retail with her Tabu Swimwear boutique, co-published a coffee-table book, and was even part-owner of an events company. But it’s her role as a loving wife and mama of three (“The most rewarding and challenging phase of my life!”), where she shines brightest. Amanda first shared her motherhood journey through the lifestyle blog Glam-O-Mamas, and at an intimate launch last July 27, …

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Fit for a Queen

What does your jewelry say about you? Are you a bold trendsetter who wears colored gemstones with confidence, or do you prefer the classic sophistication of diamonds? Do you gravitate toward understated settings, whimsical styles, or more elaborate or romantic designs? Nothing makes an impression quite like your choice of jewelry, and Royal Gem is here to help you tell your story. Established in 1982, Royal Gem—formerly known as Metro Jewelry—introduces its latest collection of diamonds, South Sea pearls, gemstones, and gold jewelry that is carefully curated to be a cut above the rest. Designed with the modern, empowered woman in mind, Royal Gem’s strength lies in an extensive collective that is as unique, multifaceted, and diverse as we are. This season, Royal Gem showcases six main collections that tread the line …

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Responsible luxury

You can’t miss it; the bright little kiosk designed like a stylish woman’s walk-in closet, which has recently appeared on the third level of Power Plant Mall. Welcome to the GREAT Women pop-up shop, which will be open until the end of July at Power Plant Mall, giving you a sneak peek of what’s in store when GREAT Women opens its own stand-alone boutique and café later this month beside the iconic Tesoro’s, along Arnaiz Avenue in Makati City. But don’t wait until the full collection is available; the reason you should shop at the pop-up now is because many of the pieces on display are one-of-a-kind, such as the exquisite minaudières or espadrilles with original beadwork by the women of the Bagobo tribe, from GREAT Women’s Legacy Collection. Browsing through …

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Treasure hunting in Hong Kong

Am I imagining it, or does it seem like there are more malls per square meter in Hong Kong than anywhere else in the world? It’s truly a retail paradise, especially for us Pinoys, who have shopping in our DNA. When you want to venture beyond commercial establishments, there are also lively markets and street stalls, hawking anything from bargain garments to exotic health cures. But my favorite thing to do in Hong Kong—or anywhere else, for that matter—is wander around local neighborhoods and check out the indie shops and local vibe. A must-visit destination is always Sheung Wan district in Central, known for its hip restaurants, antique shops, and gritty-cool atmosphere. A little local birdie once told me that if you’re a first-timer, you must get off at Central station …

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Rainbow glow

When you want to accessorize your LBD (that’s “little black dress”, ladies!) with something a little more memorable than traditional pearls, turn to “Spectral Soiree,” the Anniversary 2016 collection of the eye-catching, effortlessly chic jewelry line Heyjow. The brainchild of jewelry designer Joana Ballesteros-Gube, Heyjow was born out of a sartorial passion. “I always had a love affair with fashion, but not always the financial capabilities to indulge in it. So I had to resort to designing and creating my own fashion accessories and clothes,” Joana shares. Over a decade ago, she started creating and selling her own designs in school fairs, and by word of mouth, eventually focusing on accessories and establishing Heyjow. “Today, you’ll still see glimmers of these humble beginnings in the sensibility, versatility, and elegant simplicity of …

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