LONDON - Accessories created by a British-Filipina designer are becoming popular among trendsetters in music and fashion circles, including stylists, celebrities and rising pop stars.
The aptly named BOW label is an independent fashion enterprise providing bespoke and ready-to-wear accessories with bows, created by self-taught designer Davy Limliman Vallecer.
Handmade from carefully sourced materials from around the world, the wide range of bow items extends from neckties and headwear to rings and necklaces, as well as special pieces for home furnishing.
“The beauty of BOW is that it covers all generations - male, female, kids, pets, and decorations for their home. It can be for anyone and anything. It’s just a matter of imagining it, and I create it,” said Vallecer, who has been customizing and creating her own clothes for many years.
“If you can think of it, if you can dream it, I’ll make it happen. Because in terms of fashion, everyone is different. People try to follow fashion, but I want to contradict that and encourage people to be different, to be yourself - don’t be afraid to be yourself. A lot of my stuff are for trendsetters who know their style and are not afraid to show it off.”
Since its launch in 2008, BOW has been slowly getting a strong following from the creative scene in London. The label has been featured in a number of fashion shows, press reports, photo shoots, and music videos.
British R&B star Labrinth, known for his typical dapper style, has been spotted with BOW creations at music industry events. Upcoming female vocalists Raychel and Mercedes have also been sporting BOW in recent pictorials.
Rising British Filipina singer Jaynee, picture above, also supports the label, proudly wearing her favorite bows at live performances and appearances, including a large headpiece inspired by the colors of the Philippine flag.
Some of the bows have also been showcased at the Clothes Show Live in Birmingham, one of the biggest fashion events in the UK.
Vallecer makes every bow creation herself, from finding the best fabrics to designing every minute detail based on the personal tastes and style of the client.
“I could be walking in the streets and see a wrapper on the floor and the color from that could spark anything off in my head,” she shared.
“I usually make stuff at home or on the move, like on the train or on the bus, which tends to get attention from people. Some people will ask me what I’m doing, and it’s another promotional thing because I can give out my card and explain to people what I do. It’s something for people to look at whilst they’re travelling if they get a bit bored.”
That same boredom sparked the eureka moment that resulted to the creation of BOW.
“I was bored. I was job hunting because I was jobless. So I was just fiddling with stuff at home because I collect buttons, fabrics and stuff just in case. I started messing around and it turned into a bow, so I started making stuff for myself. Then word spread around, and through contacts I started selling at boutiques and online. It just kind of spiraled out of control," she said.
A gradate of business and marketing from the University of Greenwich, the creative entrepreneur understands the value of promotion and networking in any project.
“Marketing is everywhere, especially with social media and blogging, just telling people about what you do. From a marketing perspective, where I come from, it’s helped me to build business and create more business.”
Yet despite the rising popularity of her designs, the 34-year-old fashionista remains conservative and down-to-earth in her approach to the business.
“It’s not a money-making thing for me. I do it purely because it makes me happy. I don’t set an expectation for it. I do it because I love doing it. And I love the challenge that I get from customers when they say ‘I have this event and I want a bow to match it’. It keeps me on my toes because I can’t make the same thing over and over again,” she revealed.
In addition to BOW, Vallecer keeps herself busy with her freelance work as a shoe consultant, as well as running a series of popular Zumba classes with her sister.
“Life is short. At the end of the day, I don’t want to look back and wonder what I did with my life. I want to look back and say that I’ve achieved this, I’ve met these people, I’ve made these people happy - that’s it for me. But I think it works for everyone. If you do something in life and it makes you happy, keep doing it.”