Make no mistake, the Philippines and the Filipino diaspora is home to some of the most exciting, driven and forward-thinking designers, entrepreneurs, founders, thinkers and creatives in the globe — in our humble opinion.
In our over decade-long experience in the biz, we’ve had the privilege of encountering and connecting with many of those Filipino groups and individuals — those willing to challenge the traditional system through art and innovation, those hungry for change and revolution through better and more responsible business practices and production models, those who have the fearlessness and courage to express themselves and share their love of their culture with the world in their own unique way.
From new Filipino beauty brands that are challenging the status quo to ethical and sustainable Filipino clothing companies, we’ve gathered 13 of some of the best Filipino-owned fashion and beauty brands today — and this is just the tip of the iceberg.
Their “About” description says it all: “ONE/SIZE by Patrick Starrr is a beauty brand driving kindness and individuality through meaningful connection, profound storytelling and innovative artistry.” (*Mascara tears streaming.*) You may recognize the founder and digital star, Patrick Starrr, from his mesmerizing makeup tutorials and transformations over YouTube and Instagram and/or from his face on Sephora billboards everywhere — and if you haven’t you will. Shop One/Size’s Full-On Faux Lashes for that extra GLAM look to your ’fit.
This past October, over 18 practitioners, culture bearers, educators and designers in the Philippines and the diaspora came together to discuss cultural appropriation as part of the Voices from the Field series. One of the panelists included Claire Powers, a former “fast fashion” designer turned sustainable fashion advocate and founder of KINdom. KINdom carries everything from bold-printed maxi dresses to ruffle-sleeved tops that kind of give off that Free People vibe — but instead, KINdom uses sustainable, natural, recycled and indigenous materials created in fair trade-made ethical and compliant factories. On top of that, each item is individually packed in vegetable-based bio plastic and recycled poly mailers for shipping! Claire Powers and her brand are proving that the future of fashion is definitely sustainable.
Back Beat Co.
California on our minds. Founded by Filipina Isadora Alvarez, Back Beat Co. channels that effortlessly cool Cali vibe with nods to old school surf ‘n’ skate culture — everything from their blue and orange Organic Cotton Wave Sweaters to their annoyingly laid back Hemp Jumpsuits will make you want to just pick up and move to California asap.
Daily Malong is an e-commerce store that offers a range of beautiful handwoven products made from indigenous communities across the Philippines. Their aim is to empower Philippine weavers and artisans by not only promoting and directly selling their products to Filipinxs in the diaspora, but by featuring the individuals who created these products, sharing their stories and experiences and bringing awareness of their cultures to the rest of the world. From their woven bags and truly unique face masks to their “Princess” heels and even their home goods section, get lost in this online marketplace.
VINTA Gallery is in a category of its own. Described as a bespoke and ready-to-wear modern Filipiniana fashion brand, VINTA Gallery carries terno dresses, terno tops, barongs, terno jumpsuits, handloomed jackets, pants and more — with a twist on the traditional. Designed in Toronto, Canada and ethically made in an atelier in Manila, Philippines, VINTA likes to shake things up, creating more practical Filipiniana pieces, like its signature ternos with crushable cañamaso butterfly sleeves, and decolonizing barongs, replacing traditionally European embroidery with more current and relevant Filipino designs. Thoughtfully designed and handcrafted with love, VINTA Gallery is Rebel Filipiniana at its finest.
Angkan is a contemporary collection of unique limited edition items, made sustainably by skilled artisans across the Philippine islands. Collections like the Rich Gypsy Collection and their 100% natural Philippine Natural Abaca “Flatform” shoes channel the spirit of the globe-trotting traveller while showcasing the talent of the artisans and appreciating sacred hand embroidery by certain tribes. “Angkan” in Tagalog means family, tribe or clan — this brand shows that we are all connected and that we are indeed “one family.”
Get to know this gorgeous brand, Amami, creating Filipino heritage jewelry with a mission to revive dying jewelry traditions of the Philippines. Every purchase helps to empower and sustain livelihoods for Filipino artisans, who have spent years perfecting the pre-colonial techniques of jewelry making. Peep their best-selling earrings, Leona Creolla — the details on this pair is just STUN-NING. Beyond wearable art. (Worldwide shipping available!)
Featured in outlets like Vogue, Allure and Who What Wear, Prim Botanicals is a Filipina-founded international beauty line that finds ways to give back to the community — whether it’s being a part of 1% for the Planet, building boats for school children flood-affected communities or helping to provide food and basic needs to the homeless through Tiny Blessings. On top Prim Botanicals’ popular face oils and hair oils, they also offer a CBD collection, including a relaxing body lotion, a CBD roll-on specifically for period pain and a muscle and joint gel called The Releefer.
Who says Filipinos can’t play with the big guys? One of the best Filipino beauty brands out there, what we love about Sunnies Face is that it’s putting “F-beauty” on the international beauty map. (Read all about it on Nylon’s article, “Filipino Beauty is Primed to Be the K-Beauty of Makeup.”) Yes, the clean, off-white packaging may resemble the cookie-cutter Glossier aesthetic, but it works, their makeup formulas are fantastic (Sunnies Face Fluffmatte lipstick is their topseller) and a big plus — we get to see more Filipino faces slowly dominating the super competitive global beauty industry.
Channeling the tropics with this Philippines-based brand. Anika is the go-to slow fashion brand for minimalistic yet comfy and wearable pieces, created with light premium fabrics for that forever summer vibe. We may not be able to travel, but we can definitely dress like we are.
Rafe New York
You may have seen or heard about Rafe New York’s gorgeous handbags and clutches, but do you know the Filipino designer behind these works of art? Rafe Totengco’s creations are founded on impeccable taste, pure craftsmanship — and, of course, a bit of fun. “The women I like to design for are individualistic and confident with a sense of humour — they don’t take fashion too seriously,” Totengco says. From Rafe’s 1950s-inspired NIKKI Hexagon Vanity Cases to statement clutches, like the VENUS Clam Shell Minaudiere and the Azura Asymmetrical Minaudiere, each bag is just absolutely drool-worthy. Designed for the woman who likes her fashion served timeless.
ANTHILL Fabric Gallery
ANTHILL is a social and cultural enterprise that celebrates Filipino identity through “heart-woven” cloth and works to elevate Filipino culture through contemporary and circular design. The clever acronym stands for Alternative Nest and Trading/Training Hub for Indigenous/Ingenious Little Livelihood — they transform traditional weaves into contemporary, zero waste apparel, such as dresses, skirts, blouses, you name it, thus keeping the local Philippine weaving industry alive.
Tropical Futures is more than just a really cool Filipinx-inspired streetwear brand (because it is) — working in tangent with 856G, a multi-disciplinary creative gallery space in Mandaue, Cebu, Philippines, Tropical Futures produces everything between art exhibitions, residencies, community shows, parties and speaker talks. Their online store sells hoodies and tees with a very contemporary art world vibe, offering messages like, “Thinking like an Archipelago” and “Philippine Love Songs,” with graphics and typography that pay homage to the musical and cultural heritage of Cebu. With collaborators across New York, Bali, Singapore and the Philippines, we’re looking forward to seeing what’s next from this crew.