Fashion Accessory Makers of the Philippines steps up to keep the industry, culture, and heritage alive.
At the heart of the video campaign entitled Fashion for Healing 2, a joint project of fashion director Jackie Aquino and the design commune Magic 8 led by Gina Nebrida Ty of Agsam Fashion Fern and Carissa Cruz Evangelista of Beatriz Accessories, there lies the story of Iping, Nining, and Anita.
Iping is a shoemaker from Marikina, Nining is a Mamanwa from Surigao del Sur, and Anita is a weaver from Basey, Samar. They are just a few of the thousands of artisan workers forwarding Philippine arts and crafts, not only locally but to the rest of the world, now facing challenges as their lives are uprooted by the coronavirus pandemic.
Considered non-essential in a crisis, fashion businesses took a backseat as lockdowns and quarantines unfolded from the national to the barangay level. Even retail giants, both local and international, were not spared from the onslaught of the novel coronavirus as brick and mortar boutiques closed permanently. The fashion accessory industry also took a direct hit with many trunk shows canceled, and collection orders delayed or put on indefinite hold.
The call for unity in such perilous times has given birth to the Fashion Accessory Makers of the Philippines (FAMPH), out of the desire to map out ways to help the displaced workers and communities. “It was because of the crisis that we decided to create a unified and collective voice for fashion accessory brands and designers,” Ty says. “The idea was to come together and work hand-in-hand to establish our relevance and thrive in the new normal. We felt we needed to come together and rise so that we could support our artisans and communities, most of whom rely on our FAMPH members as a primary source of livelihood.”
With a strong collective of 45 proudly Filipino fashion brands, FAMPH seeks to gain more members and find advocates that will help bring its vision and goals to the right platforms in the government and private sectors. Beyond formulating structural changes while in pandemic, the goal of the organization is to create a national plan for the industry in order to preserve local artisanal craftsmanship for generations to come. Through such craftsmanship that keeps heritage and culture alive, a powerful link that can be helpful in nation-building is strengthened.
Recently, FAMPH launched its first-ever digital campaign, #CraftingOurFutureTogether, spearheaded by fashion show director Jackie Aquino, whose Fashion for Healing online video series piqued the interest not just of industry insiders but also the buying public. “It began when we reached out to Jackie who was so kind to agree to help our team create a video,” Evangelista says. “It has since been the start of our journey toward navigating our rapidly changing world.”
In the video, one can see the many communities that FAMPH designers have been helping—from wood sculptors from Laguna and leather tanners from Bulacan for Amina Aranaz-Alunan (@aranaz_ph), to metalsmiths and bag makers from Cebu for Neil Felipp (@neilfelipp). Aside from Evangelista’s Beatriz Accessories (@beatriz_accessories) and Ty’s Agsam Fashion Fern (@agsamfashionfern), participating designers and brands in the video also include Adante Leyesa (@adanteleyesa), Georgina Teng (@alchemistaonline), Tessa Nepomuceno (@callibags), Chris Gomez (@chromez_creatives), Earl Gariando (@earlgariando), Katrina Delantar Mon (@floreafashion), Katrina Q. Ong (@flutterstatementjewelry), Janice Chua (@islandgirlph), Isabelle Ocier (@jimweaverdesigns), Jo Ann Bitagcol (@bitagcol), Jun Artajo (@karga_bags_dvo), Ken Samudio (@matthewandmelka), Kit Imson (@kitsilverjewellery), Yen Pomida-Nacario (@larasamarph), Maco Custodio (@macocustodio), Noelle Llave (@oeldesign), Tal de Guzman (@stridecollectiveph), Abecel Rosende (@strozzihandcraftedjewelries), Tweetie de Leon-Gonzalez (@tdlgdesigns), Thian Rodriguez (@thianrodriquezmnl), Tina Campos Magistrado (@tinacamposjewelry), Twinkle Ferraren (@twinkleferraren), Martha Rodriguez (@vesti_ph), and Christine Vertucio (@virtuciodesigns).
“Because of economic uncertainty and travel restrictions, a strong digital presence was inevitable. The old way of doing business isn’t going to return anytime soon so an online platform coupled by digital presence was how we decided to pivot,” Evangelista says. “Our plans are in progress and constantly developing, and it is through constant brainstorming and feedback from peers that we are able to put together the pieces of the puzzle one step at a time.”
Instagram: @famph | Facebook: @FashionAccessoryMakersofthePhils