Philippine fashion accessories shown at Maison & Objet Paris

Marilyn Paed-Rayray

Posted at Sep 09 2016 05:16 AM

FRANCE - Filipino fashion accessory companies made it to international trade fair Maison et Objet Paris at the Parc des Exposition in Villepinte this September. 

Ten exhibitors – Ann Ong, Beatriz, Crystal Seas, Floreia, Kitsilver Jewelry, Larone Crafts, Megabijoux Inc., Mia Arcenas, Michelline Syjuco and ZAI Design Hive shared the much coveted space at the Maison et Objet Paris. 

With the theme Fashion Philippines Reimagined Traditions, the country’s debut exhibit was devoted solely to fashion accessories.

Chiqui Veneracion, representative of Maison et Objet Philippine office, said that the biannual trade fair for professionals dedicated to lifestyle, decoration and design is not a platform for everybody. 

"I am very fortunate to be given the opportunity to be able to promote the Philippines, give a platform which is the M&O because it’s a platform that is already branded and the whole world knows it and to be in it is actually showing the quality of work that we do and the kind of innovation that we have in design and creativity which is very Filipino," said Veneracion. 

She acknowledged the efforts of the government through the Center for International Trade Expositions and Missions (CITEM), the attached agency of the Philippine Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), which is in-charge of export promotion, for assisting the 10 companies. 

CITEM Assistant Division Chief Katrina Pineda explained that “the theme Reimagined Traditions under Fashion Philippines is the interpretation of our traditional crafts of metalsmithing, weaving and jewelry making."

The 10 Philippine fashion producers in M&O Paris showcased wide-ranged collection of fashion bags and jewelry using metals, indigenous and organic materials like shells, grass and tree trunks. Some used upcycled materials, while others utilized patented technology using paper. CITEM prepared each brand in bringing in their best designs to attract and cater to the global market, especially in Maison et Objet, where a wide array of different buyers flock from around the world.

From bold-colored geometrically-patterned bags and award-winning patented jewelries, to lush metalwork of shawl rendered in metal brass and lavishly-enhanced Gothic-inspired accessories, the exhibitors have wowed the buyers and guests who were amazed at the creativity of the relatively young designers of Fashion Philippines. 

Each piece showcased in Maison et Objet was handcrafted and unique. 

"No two items will be exactly alike," said Bianca Monson-Cueva, Beatriz representative and Paris resident, "because every piece is purely handmade." 

This distinctive design and accessory characteristic is very essential to Maison et Objet, which is not only dominated by French retailers, but also clients from the global market. 

Maison et Objet Paris is a very challenging market not only because France remains as center for lifestyle and design, but because it is also joined in by many renowned competitors around the world.

Froilan Emil Pamintuan, DTI commercial attaché, shared how the designers support community in the Philippines by hiring local artisans who are mostly women and housewives, who do the detailing and weaving in their own homes.

Many of them have factories or if they don’t have factories, they live in an area where they support the communities around their facilities. They give jobs and empower women in the rural and impoverished areas and communities outside Metro Manila. 

For Pamintuan, the Philippines has an advantage in the global market such as M&O because of its raw materials. 

"Many of the raw materials that we use are not being used elsewhere. The combination of our good raw materials, creative gist of the Filipino designers, their youth and dynamism and the inspiration they derive from helping the communities made them to the French market," said Pamintuan.

"The French has always been fascinated with backstories. Whenever they buy something, they don’t just buy because it is nice. They always ask and look for the backstory of the product," he further added. 

The story behind each piece showcased, the artisanship, innovation and creativity that pays homage to the traditional crafts have made Maison et Objet keen to Philippine design over the years.

Frédéric Bougeard, commercial and development director of Maison & Objet said: "(The) Philippines has always been a part of Maison et Objet from the very beginning. I would say, it’s part of the DNA of Maison et Objet. On the second year since its launching 22 years ago, we already have a group of very young and good Filipino designer. Among them was the very young Kenneth Cobonpue, see now what becomes Kenneth…"

Bougeard is set to travel soon to the Philippines, particularly in Cebu and in Manila, to meet the industry and the people in the community where the artisans work.

Present in the same hall at the Scènes d'Intérieur were the famous and established companies like Kenneth Cobonpue, a multi-awarded furniture designer and manufacturer from Cebu and the Augoustis, whose signature centers around unique objects made of exotic materials such as stingray, shagreen, snakeskin, lizard and ostrich. 

Their distinctive installations along with Fashion Philippines have given the hall of Maison et Objet an air of traditional Philippine culture.

The ten Philippine fashion brands will also be present in Manila FAME, a twice a year lifestyle event in the Philippines which houses more than 100 suppliers from different categories for home, decor, gifts and fashion, from October 20 to 22, 2016.

According to a CITEM representative, Reimagined Traditions is a sort of a preview to what Philippines can offer through Manila FAME.