Distinctly Filipino brand makes a mark in NY fashion

By Don Tagala, ABS-CBN North America News Bureau

Posted at Apr 26 2014 08:12 AM | Updated as of Apr 26 2014 04:12 PM

NEW YORK - The name itself screams creativity that is distinctly Filipino.

Filip+Inna, a play on the word Filipina, has made a mark at the annual 3-day shopping extravaganza called Indagare Souk in New York's Upper East Side.

"Souk" means Arab market - Indagare Souk is a market place of global finds, including intricately embroidered clothes and accessories by Filip+Inna.

Founder and creative designer Lenora Cabili said a line dress with mother of pearl bead work and traditional embroidery from the Philippines is one of her best sellers.

"These are basically shell beads, these are like hand stitched. They love the fact na it's an easy wear," Cabili said.

New Yorker Carol Mercer is one of Filip+Inna's loyal customers.

"I like it because it's pretty, also because it's handmade and it's very different. Yyou don't see it anywhere else. The colors are beautiful, and I just love the stitching, embroidery, it's just lovely and the prices are reasonable," said Mercer.

Filip+Inna is inspired by tradition yet designed for the contemporary woman-- a weave that creates timeless and unique piece of clothing and accessories.

From the northern to the southern Philippines, Cabili incorporates old custom weaving, embroidery and beadwork that is handmade by artisans from different indigenous Filipino tribes such as the T'boli.

"It's really getting inspiration from the Philippine culture and make it more relevant in our every day lives," Cabili said.

Cabili's love for promoting the Philippines began when she was exposed to the different indigenous tribes growing up in Iligan City in Mindanao. This was further enhanced by her experience as a Bayanihan Philippine Cultural dancer.

"It has to be part of our identity, so Filipinos should really be proud of the culture, our culture and I provided like a way to make it more wearable or more contemporary," she said.

New York real estate agent, blogger and Fashionista Samantha Lopez said wearing a Filip+Inna creation fits right into the Big Apple's fashion sense.

"Proven talaga, kasi I was lucky enough to be one of the first Filipina na nagsuot ng gawa ni Len dito sa New York," Lopez said, "Everywhere I go talagang napupuna."