The whole love local movement isn’t new, but it’s something that I’ve been more mindful of in the past two years or so. When I was much younger with a lot more “disposable” income—or so I thought at that time, haha—I spent a lot of my hard-earned money on fast fashion and trendy items. I would later on realize that even if I justified the cost-per-wear for these things, in the end, they didn’t have a long lifespan and would either go to the trash or to a donation pile.
Since I started freelancing, I spend a lot of time at home and don’t really need a lot of “going out” clothes. So I pared down my closet and stuck to pieces that I could mix and match. I also spent less time at the mall, which meant I was able to curb my propensity to shop fast fashion. No more 50% off sales every payday weekend. No more buying things just because they were cheap. I suppose the only brand you could categorize under fast fashion that I can’t seem to give up just yet is Uniqlo. I want to say though that I have pieces from 4 or 5 years ago that I still wear today, so I’d say that’s still a sustainable purchase. Right? I also have a personal policy of not buying anything from there at full price. Believe me, that dress will go on sale in a month or so.
BUT I digress. When it comes to shopping, I’ve switched to mostly buying online. It’s much more convenient especially when brands have reliable sizing guides. I don’t need to sit in traffic or get distracted by other stuff when I only need to buy One Thing. I find myself drawn to local brands lately and though, more often than not, they tend to be a little pricey, I think they’re usually made with good quality material and will probably last me a long time.
Here are just a few brands I’ve been loving lately.
Earlier this year, I was looking for Teva-type sandals that didn’t look too sporty. I almost bought chunky ones in Japan but they just looked so big on my narrow feet. Got sandal-envy from all the cute Japanese women riding around the city on their bikes. Thankfully found these leather ones online that fit me perfectly.
Shop Andante here.
I recall seeing them on Instagram and wishing my body was made for their teeny dresses. I generally shy away from spaghetti-strapped clothes as I don’t feel so comfortable baring my arms. I wanted to get the terno mini when they first came out with it in white, but they sold out fast. So when they came out with the red one last Christmas, I knew I had to get myself one. Wore it to our Christmas dinner and have since worn it on many special occasions. I love that it’s in linen and in such a fun color. I love it so much, I caved and bought it another one in a different colorway. I imagine I’ll be alternating both for many years ahead. They recently came out with one that has removable sleeves, too. Genius!
Shop Áraw here.
AVA the Brand
Early this year, I was obsessed with jumpsuits (who am I kidding, I still am). I was looking for more affordable brands and found them on Instagram. I got myself this yellow jumpsuit and even brought it with me to LA last March. I’ve worn it by itself and with a button-down top inside. I just wish my hips and butt were a little smaller, so this would fit better on me. A larger size would be too big on my torso, unfortunately.
Shop AVA the Brand here.
Bags by Rubbertree
I first got introduced to the brand by way of 10A Alabama a few years ago. I kept ogling their gorgeous bags and eventually emailed to ask if they would customize a tote for me. I wanted thin straps and they graciously accommodated my request. Trina and Ruben are so nice and easy to talk to. About three years after I got that tote, when one of my straps had a tiny tear, they replaced it for free! I have since gotten a saddle sling and it’s on regular rotation along with my tote. I always browse their website and find myself putting things on my imaginary wish list. Waiting for an occasion to gift myself another bag from them.
Shop Bags by Rubbertree here.
My friend and former officemate Margaux started Coral Swimwear with one of her friends a couple of years ago when she left Candy. I still remember getting my first suit and being so excited to wear it. It’s still in my must-pack list whenever I go to the beach and has held up through many trips. I recently got myself another suit from their latest collection and wore it on my birthday in Boracay. Can’t wait to take it on many more trips in the future.
Shop Coral Swimwear here.
Another brand managed by a friend and my birthday mate Teresa. I knew them for their bed sheets and cozy scarves/shawls. I didn’t know they also sold clothes! In my linen-obsessed phase, I was so happy to find a dress (with pockets!) and a roomy top in their product line-up. Love wearing the dress on its own and with a long-sleeved top under for a different look.
Shop Go Basic here.
Halo Halo Store
I remember when they were still selling bags made with neoprene. Then they made their transition to what their current line-up looks like. Fashioned from recycled plastic, the brand builds on the traditional banig and turns them into mats, bags, and even furniture. I got some placemats at Manila FAME and then snagged a bag when they announced via newsletter that the Trabaho Tote was finally available online. I’ve been a longtime fan and even featured them in a SPOT story last year highlighting homegrown brands. They recently came out with a new line of bags and shirts and I’m having a very hard time resisting them. No more purchases for me until next year! Please stop me, haha.
Shop Halo Halo Store here.
The Loom Project
Ever since purchasing these Padma mules from another local brand Munimuni last year, I’ve been looking for other pretty slip-ons made with local textile. I chanced upon this brand that donates their profit towards giving communities looms for weaving. Pretty cool, right? I love that they’re preserving the art of weaving while also providing a livelihood for the local communities. The ones I got have fun pom-poms that instantly add a touch of whimsy to my outfits.
Shop The Loom Project here.
Love You Long Time
It’s the stylish brainchild of the same person behind the natural skin care brand Nanny Rose. Whenever I find myself at pop-ups, I end up obsessing over the other retailers’ wares. As it happens, Love You Long Time was one of the merchants at the launch for my Signorina collection with Dandy Ona. Came home with the lone Saint Rémy top in turmeric and I have no regrets! Was pleasantly surprised when I was twinsies with the Bedroom in Arles at the Van Gogh Alive exhibition.
Shop Love You Long Time here.
I never would’ve imagined myself as a t-shirt girl but here we are. I started with one, and now have a total of 5 Strange Mercy shirts in my closet. I love that the material is not too thin that you can see your bra underneath yet also not too thick for our tropical climate. I can wear them with jeans, a skirt, or even under a denim pinafore. The art on their shirts are beautiful and I feel reflect my intentions. I’ve worn out my “The Universe Provides” shirt so much since I got it last year. Happy to have a few more to cycle around.
Shop Strange Mercy here.
Another store I found that carries affordable linen jumpsuits. Got myself one in a peachy coral color and Chinggay gave me a black one recently because they sent her two. I used to hate rompers/jumpsuits so much that I threw away the only one I had. It makes going to the bathroom quite difficult. But I’ve had a change of heart, and will risk being half-naked in a bathroom stall whenever I wear one.
Shop Studio 17 here.
TBH, I just decided to write this because I need to stop buying stuff. I think having your birthday and Christmas so close to each other deludes you into thinking you can keep buying yourself gifts. Or is that just me? Haha, no, don’t answer that.