Bea Constantino brings Southern Mindanao’s vibrant culture closer to Manila

Published August 5, 2022, 11:53 AM

by John Legaspi

Championing the Philippines’ weaving heritage, her fashion label Studio Süg opens pop up in Power Plant Mall

“Taga-saan ka?” That is a question Filipinos are very familiar with as it sparks conversations about history and heritage. For Bea Constantino, her response to that question is represented by the beautiful and vibrant weaves of Sulu.

Handwoven textile from Maimbung, Sulu (Photo from @studiosug) and Bea Constantino (Photo from @beaconstantino)

It is not new for Bea to be one of the leading creatives in the local fashion scene. But with her brand Studio Süg, formerly known as Herman & Co., she was able to present not only her passion for good style but also for pieces that are imbued with the rich heritage of the country. Established in 2016, Studio Süg has been championing the weaving heritage of Southern Mindanao by incorporating them in contemporary designs fit for the city or any exotic adventure. This time, the brand has a new home at Power Plant Mall in Makati City as it opens its first solo pop up this August. 

“This is a dream. I’ve been wanting to do a solo effort,” Bea, Studio Süg’s founder and creative director, tells Manila Bulletin Lifestyle. “This is the final product of a lot of hard work, sweat, and tears. I just came from Sulu, I got the fabrics and textiles there. [My goal is] to be able to promote the culture of Southern Mindanao, specifically, my ancestral hometowns of Zamboanga City and Sulu.”

The store, located on the second level of the mall, is alive with its display of colors courtesy of the handwoven textiles. It houses the brand’s newest line, the “Anuling Collection: Pag-uwi,” which features the Yakan weaves from the talented communities in Basilan (purchased in Zamboanga), and the pis yabit weaving of the Tausug tribe from Sulu. Of course, working with these artisanal materials requires a lot of research. That’s why in Studio Süg’s pieces, you can find the tapestries only from the waist up. 

“There’s no handbook for it, but out of respect, we just abide by it,” Bea says. “You’ll see bold colors and geometric patterns in pis yabit, which speak a lot about the Tausug culture. We are warriors by blood, back in the day.”

“Local fashion is going through a shift also,” she adds. “When we started, it was somewhat new when you are using local weaves in your clothes. Now, people are more accustomed to it. It‘s more challenging for us to find elevated ways to integrate the weaves in our designs.”

Also in the store is a jacket customization station, which allows shoppers to select local fabrics and weaves to be used for their personalized and reimagined Victoria Jacket. It also has an array of co-ords, hats, and accessories, many of which are unisex, offering a multitude of styles for anyone, of any gender and age, to choose from. 

Apart from bringing Southern Mindanao’s craft to today’s style scene, Studio Süg also invites everyone to discover the art of Slow Tropical Living. “[We want] people could take the time to just breathe, see the bigger picture, and appreciate our surroundings, our tourist spots, and go back to our roots.”

Through Studio Süg, Bea’s goal is to open people’s eyes to what Sulu has to offer, which are stitched stories of heritage and homecomings. 

“I have heard of military operations, I have seen it. I want the brand to bridge the gap,” Bea says. “People can’t access those locals or cities… but this is the beautiful culture and let’s talk about it.”

Studio Süg’s pop up is now open at the Power Plant Mall until Aug. 28. To know more about its latest collection, visit @studiosug on Instagram.

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