Last month, we held our first-ever Private Shopping Experience Contest on Instagram — the selected winner and tagged friend received an exclusive styling and shopping day with our founder and designer, Caroline Mangosing, plus a $100 Gift Card each to spend on

Just in time for NYE 2020, our two winners, Yasmine Perez-Achig and her mom Princess, visited the VINTA HQ in Toronto the Saturday before ringing in the New Year. Yasmine shared what it was like to spend the day with Caroline and what the experience meant to her and her mom.

VINTA: How did you come across VINTA and what made you want to enter the Private Shopping Experience Contest?

Yasmine: I was introduced to VINTA through my Mom about 6 years ago. She showed me VINTA's Instagram account and I immediately clicked the follow button.

Both my mom and I were instantly obsessed with their beautiful pieces. We admired VINTA's innovation and sustainable practices. But also felt a deep connection with VINTA rooted in our love for our Filipino culture. 

When I first came across VINTA it felt like we (as Filipinos) were finally being 'seen', and not just by anyone, but by our own. As a 2nd gen Canadian and a Filipino of mixed background, I had never come across anything like it before. VINTA felt like a genuine and pure acknowledgment of our Filipino culture — past and present, and it continues to feel like that. 

I usually never enter any type of contest but when I saw VINTA's Instagram post about a private shopping experience, I decided to just put my name in not actually thinking I would win. And having my Mom come with me was the obvious choice since first introduced me to their work.

We could NOT get over Yasmine in our Hand-loomed Ifugao Bahag Dress. Heart eyes emoji for daysss.

VINTA: Tell us what the whole day was like on Saturday.

Yasmine: My Mom and I arrived at VINTA Gallery's TO HQ at 12 pm on Saturday. Caroline met us at the door and welcomed us in. I recognized Caroline from her photos and videos on VINTA's account. She was wearing a beautiful barong, stacked brass bangles and socks with slippers (:P) — which made me feel comfortable and at home. We were also introduced to Nikki who greeted us with champagne and a beautiful charcuterie spread.

Before we knew it we had already been there for an hour — snacking and chatting. How the time flew..! It was so inspiring to learn about VINTA's origins and hear about Caroline's path to creating this business. This made me even more excited to start trying on VINTA's pieces! For about an hour and a half, my mom and I went back and forth from the change room draping ourselves in their beautiful silks and hand-loomed fabrics and even got a sneak peak of their new collection. 

After much deliberation, we decided on the pieces that would come home with us, including a Hot Pink Kaftan that both my mom and I couldn't resist (Twinsies!). 

Yasmine and Princess in our hot pink Kaftan.

VINTA: What was it like trying on the VINTA pieces and which item did you gravitate towards the most?

Yasmine: Wearing VINTA pieces feels very empowering! You feel like you're wearing a piece of art — because you are! With each piece you are connected to tradition and resilience. The embroidery, weaving and hand-dyed colouring — each tell a story and the modern innovative cuts are a reclamation of that story.

It made me feel beautiful and very lucky to be trying these pieces on and now being able to own couple of them. On top of that, being able to blend traditional dress with modern styling felt so cool!

The piece I immediately gravitated towards was the High Neck Crop Barong. The cerise colour instantly caught my eye and the embroidery was breathtaking. It made for a really tough decision when I tried on the same top in lavender. 

Yasmine in our High Neck Crop Barong in Cerise.

VINTA: What was it like sharing the experience with your mom?

Yasmine: Sharing this experience with my mom was really special. We do everything together so it was not even a question on who I would choose to come with me. We had so much fun dressing up and taking the moment to immerse ourselves in this experience and enjoy the moment together. (Love you, Ma!)

Princess looking like a Queen in our Tent Terno Redux. 

VINTA: Were there any learnings that surprised you / inspired you about VINTA or Filipiniana clothing in general?

Yasmine: It was so cool and inspiring to learn that VINTA is a sustainable business completely run by Women! Sustainable and empowering practices is something that is very important to me and hearing this reaffirmed my admiration for VINTA! So much pride and love for every individual piece — YAY GIRL POWER!

VINTA: What was your favourite part of the experience?

Yasmine: My favourite part was sitting down with Caroline and learning about VINTA and what inspired her. I really enjoyed hearing the backstory for each piece I tried on, who had their hand in making the piece and where the different elements were sourced. True artistry!

Yasmine in our new Shirt Coat Barong with gumamela floral motif, designed by local Manila illustrator, May Caras. 

Yasmine in our Ifugao Anorak Jacket and Track Pants. Looks too gewwwd.

Thank you so much to Yasmine and Princess for visiting VINTA and learning more about us! It was one of our favourite experiences, and we were truly humbled and inspired to have met you! xo