Meet Farah Abu, a Filipino fashion accessories designer making a presence in Hollywood

Published January 11, 2022, 11:02 AM

by John Legaspi

From selling in bazaars in Manila to now having an international brand presence, Farah Abu is making a mark in the fashion world as a designer and an entrepreneur.

Going global is something every fashion creative dreams of, not only does it solidify one’s talents but it is also a major sign of success for something that is founded only by passion. That dream has been fulfilled in the case of Filipino fashion accessories designer Farah Abu. But getting there wasn’t easy, and with the current pandemic climate, her journey in taking her namesake brand abroad was as intricate as her bespoke creations.

Farah Abu

Her passion for designing jewelry started at a young age with crafting charm bracelets sold for P250. Although many have seen this just as a mere hobby, she shifted her career path from being an architect to pursuing accessory design.

“Contrary to the restrictions I felt with architecture, I felt so free with the endless possibilities in accessory design,” she says. “I could make whatever I wanted and it just really made me happy. I finally found what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.”

Farah’s first step as a fashion entrepreneur was opening a small boutique in Iligan City, Mindanao, reselling clothes, bags, shoes, and her designed jewelry pieces. While it didn’t go as she had hoped for, she braved Manila in 2009 and ventured into selling her handmade accessories in bazaars. This eventually got her on the right track, allowing her to build relationships with customers, establish business contacts, and provide her with a break into the industry.

Her first jewelry corset

In 2017, Farah presented her handmade pieces at Los Angeles Fashion Week and Phoenix Fashion Week. This also enabled her works to be seen in different parts of the world, including Paris, Singapore, Switzerland, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Hong Kong. Currently, she joins a roster of select Filipino designers whose creations are being carried in the For The Stars Fashion House, a unique, high-end style center led by creative director and fashion icon Jacob Meir located in Hollywood, California.

But when the pandemic struck, things became different in the retail industry and her brand. To remain relevant, she designed a product, a face mask, that was comfortable, form-fitting, safe, and fashionable.

“Coming from the retail industry where our products are considered non-essential, we came up with a product that’s relevant to the current times,” she says. “This was how the Stella Mask was born. Just this month, a year after, we released another designer mask called the Lily Mask, another bold essential statement piece. From its design and creation, I make sure that both masks are comfortable, form-fitting, safe yet fashionable for my customers.”

Stella Mask

Lily Mask

Keeping her presence alive online, also allowed her to continue her brand’s operations. With logistics partner FedEx, her creations were able to be in place across borders, allowing people on different continents to wear them.

“This is a new age,” she muses. “The good thing about e-commerce is low operational expenses, no rent. When you sell online, you already have a catalog of your designs which your buyers can easily choose from.”

Today, Farah continues to inspire customers to celebrate life and beauty through her masterpieces. Her journey may not have been easy but her perseverance and determination have paid off as she has carved a strong, desirable reputation for herself in the fashion industry.

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