Wear the beauty of Mangyan art with these artisanal face masks

Published December 21, 2020, 7:43 PM

by John Legaspi

These face masks are unlike anything you’ve seen

Championing Filipino culture through design is not new in the local fashion industry. But with all the things that happened this year, taking that creative route has never been more essential. And the best way to make that a statement is with today’s vital piece for protection—the face mask.

Throughout the pandemic period, Filipino fashion designer Bryan Peralta has been making collections of face masks celebrating the diverse culture of the country, from face masks inspired by local textiles to vibrant Pride offerings. This time, he channels the weaving craft of the Mangyan in his latest collection.

“The Mangyan Mask was born from my experience of loss and grief, manifested in a day dream I had of a time in our future when we can all finally put our masks down and see each other’s smiles again,” he tells Manila Bulletin Lifestyle. “Even then, I imagine we will still want a piece to keep with us a memory, a memorabilia of this time in our lives when we have lost so much: a loved one, a partner, a mother, a job, a friend, a future. The Mangyan Mask is a sculptural rendition of today’s new accessory.”

Months before the release of the collection, Bryan has been working with the women of the Talipanan Mangyan Village in Oriental Mindoro, through Joanne Presentacion Suarez, a teacher at the Talipanan Mangyan School. Just like with his past collections, his goal is to create something meaningful during this time, while helping displaced seamstresses and staff to put food on their table.

The weaved masks are true statement pieces. They come in four color variations and pattern ways, one of which is the saw-toothed pattern that depicts the sea for the Mangyan. The face masks are made of nito vines and have vegetable leather ear loops. Each set comes with a carbon filter and a certificate of artisanal authenticity. 

“I imagine the Mangyan Mask as a memento, a handcrafted statement piece, an accent that we can give a home to, reminding us of the most beautiful of human experiences: grief and resilience, and the transformative power of loss and healing,” the designer says. “It’s an unusual time to be alive, but one where we can emerge fully embracing the broad spectrum of the human experience.”

Instagram: @bryanperaltadesigns