Kaayo Modern Mindanao pop-up is a kindness store

Published November 14, 2021, 8:53 AM

by AA Patawaran

The advocacy-driven apparel brand reopens at SM Aura Premier with its holiday 2021 collection called ‘Inspiration’

What the mother-and-daughter team from Mindanao, Baby Montemayor and Margarita Nograles, started in 2016, originally an advocacy for the recognition of Mindanao’s indigenous culture, is now a retail force that is focused on sustaining the livelihood of Philippine artisans.

Kaayo Modern Mindanao is a bold step, reinventing indigenous art and craftsmanship and making them suitable for modern-day applications, but without taking them away from their cultural roots. It all began with the women of the Tiboli and the T’nalak Dream Weavers, but now, as Kaayo reopens a pop-up at SM Aura Premier, more collaborations, such as with the B’laan, Mandaya, Bagobo Tagabawa, Manobo, and Tagakaolo tribes, are in spotlight, along with some of the region’s many riches, such as the Inabal, a textile used by ancestral royalty, and the Inaul, otherwise known as “Mindanao silk.” More than representation, the store gets its customer base up close and personal with artisans like Elena, Vivencia, Ng Amalia, and more by sharing their stories on social media.

FILIPINO FASHION TODAY Tiboli hand beaded top (Photo from Kaayo, cover design by Jules Vivas)

Walking into the Kaayo pop-up is a glimpse into southern Philippines’ lush landscapes, rich heritage, diverse cultures, and warm, friendly peoples as represented by the prints and patterns, as well as the age-old techniques passed on through many generations, in its showcase of proudly made products.

‘The origins of Kaayo go back almost 20 years. We first fell in love with the weaves of Tiboli mother-daughter tandem, Elena and Giegie Marcelo, in the early 2000s.’

In Bisaya, Kaayo means “kindness,” “to go beyond,” and “for the good” and Kaayo Modern Mindanao anchors the theme of the reopening of its pop-up store on kindness, simply dubbed at #KAAYOCultureofKindness, a new campaign, apt for the times, that centers on the hopes, creativity, and futures of indigenous people and women’s groups in the Philippines. Central to the kindness campaign is the #ShareKaayo Tee, a limited edition Kaayo T-shirt, proceeds from which will go to Christmas packages for the artisan communities.

Unveiled at the recent opening and blessing of the pop-up is the 2021 holiday collection called “Inspiration,” which will be available until Jan. 31, 2022. Included in the collection of men’s, women’s, and children’s apparel, like scarves, cover-ups, dresses, tops, shirts, pants, and skirts in clean-cut designs with intricate details, as well as the Tiboli-Hand Beaded athleisure sub-line, Kaayo Move, is a mix of essential gift items, such as affordable mini bags, home accents like coasters and placemats. New pieces are scheduled to come in over the next few weeks. What’s more, there are custom appointments and fittings every Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday!

Open during mall hours, from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., Kaayo Modern Mindanao is at on the upper ground floor of SM Aura Premier, McKinley Parkway, Fort Bonifacio, Global City, Taguig.