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My Jacinto & Lirio Design Philosophy

May 21, 2012

“To make indigenous look sexy”. This phrase sums up my design philosophy for Jacinto & Lirio.

In the Philippines, native products are usually associated with handicrafts which is not in anyway linked with fashion icons. It probably has a lot to do with the colonial mentality in the country, but this fact also opened up an opportunity for change. Not just fashion appeal improvement, but also social scale escalation. Indeed, fashion has a big potential to create change.

What was usually used as woven, is not being utilized by Ecoingenuity Inc. as plant leather; but, it doesn’t stop there.

My design process begins first and foremost with the “technical” aspect of my main material-meaning the feasible designs which can be made using the water hyacinth plant leather.

Thanks to Tita Cora Jacobs, who designed our debut collection, I have understood that crafting a bag out of water hyacinth leather is always in need of piping to make it sturdy.

Second, comes in the functional aspect. Here I ask myself, “In what ways can I design a bag that caters to the needs of our consumers?”; “How can I make it useful for them?”

I have sketches where this can be seen but this is not yet very evident with the current collections released. Mainly because these were designed by other designers we’ve collaborated with, but it somehow subtly showed it with our two in one bag designs.

                                    Function: 2 colors-in-1bag

Speaking of collaboration, collaboration is actually one of the main philosophies of our brand. It is through collaborative partnerships that we were able to meet a diverse network of people that we could not have met without the initial partnership, not to mention all the knowledge we’ve learned like how the design process flows, where to get design inspiration and what strategies to employ in running a fashion business, and the like.

Lastly, but also in equal importance with these two philosophies is how I can incorporate these functions to the aesthetic look of the bag.

Our Unica Collection was designed by a local artisan that used to work for Celestina. Since I handle the product development of the brand, I had the upper hand with the incorporation of the colors. When it comes to colors, I made sure that we could offer both classic colors and season color trends.

I also took into consideration what customers look for in bag when it comes to design. In a survey we conducted, we found out that females like to have bags that pop out in terms of colors because bags usually serve as an accent to their over-all style. Since it’s summer, and I like unconventional types of bags, I came up with wild bag color combinations like this:

Another element I consider under the aesthetic appeal is the mixture of materials. I love mixing quirky and/or recycled materials with conventional materials. In general, I love unusual designs. When I was younger, I had a capri that was too small for me so I made it into a capri-shaped bag. I also own a bag shaped like sneakers, guitar, and a fish.

Here’s a subtle showcase of the unusual bag components I used for some of our bag designs:

For the studs, buckles and foot stands of Teodora, as suggested by a local artisan, I had it inlaid with Philippine shell. For this color, I used white kabibe shell.

The base used here is actually wood inlaid with veneer.

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