Year-End Thoughts from VINTA Founder Caroline Mangosing 2022
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Year-End Thoughts from VINTA Founder Caroline Mangosing 2022

Snowmageddon is happening out here, as I write this in Niagara Falls, Ontario, at my annual family gathering. I was just watching hilarious videos of the VINTA atelier staff having the giggliest, screaming, pushing each other around type of game playing at their holiday party. Not gonna lie, feeling a little fomo.

Well, it’s been another year! It was the Year of the Water Tiger. It was
my year. I was born in the year of the Wood Tiger. I am such a stoic when it comes to looking at my own success, but it was an undeniably damn good year. Great, even ;) I don’t really read up too much on Chinese Astrology, I am more of a Chani Nicholas Astrology type of woman. But I looked up a random Year of the Tiger prediction from Feb 2022, and it is pretty bang on:

“2022 is being the year of controlled temerity, new and original ideas are likely to materialize successfully. Also in this year, the most improbable and the most utopian projects in particular those which have ends of comfort and collective well-being, manage to find the financing necessary to their concretization.”

Controlled temerity, or controlled audacity, is a concept that literally speaks to my stoic, idealistic heart. And “projects which have ends of comfort and collective well-being” has been central to the work I have done in the last 20 years. 

Going into the new year I read up on what is happening in the industry at large, and in BOF’s (Business of Fashion) Weekly Sustainability Briefing, the outlook on the fashion industry is pretty grim:

“A miracle has to happen to save the survival of fashion as we know it,” says trend forecaster Lidewij Edelkoort.

Luckily for VINTA Gallery, we were ahead of our time because we built this company as a vertically integrated, small-batch production operation, which is exactly the model big corp manufacturers are shakily having to pivot toward. For me, as an extreme niche fashion start-up founder and an anti-capitalist having the audacity to run a business in late capitalism, this reality is disconcertingly gratifying. ​​😤

The spring of 2022 brought the dismantling of the mandatory quarantine periods for a lot of global travel. So in the beginning of April, Sydney and I traveled to Manila to visit the new atelier that was already fully functioning and finishing up renovation. We were there for two whole months approving all the samples for the whole year’s production, buying all the fabric, working side by side by side with the amazing Philippines team, taking them out for the annual summer day trip to Villa Escudero in Laguna and just soaking up some tropical homeland sun. After being grounded for two years of the pandemic — me in Toronto and Sydney in Ohio — it was a wonderfully busy work trip that was so welcomed. Not all work though, as Sydney was even able to spend some time with her family at her mom’s hometown of Bucari in Iloilo.

While in Manila, we had an amazing opportunity to create couture pieces for Shelby Rabara and Harry Shum Jr. for the Goldhouse Gala in May. The sweet couple was so generous in sharing it in their respective Instagram accounts, in turn getting us so many new followers. Thank you, Shelby and Harry!

Straight off the heels of getting Shelby and Harry’s outfits done, Sydney and I hopped on a plane to Siargao Island to meet and catch up IRL with Desiree, our marketing manager, for a fun working holiday. We had two days of photographing VINTA garments on beautiful Filipino/as in paradise. Syd and I also took surfing lessons! It was wild, because we both were able to get up on a board! 

VINTA Gallery Photo Shoot in Siargao — "Filipino Avengers"

It was so heartwarming to see how much the island and the locals had recovered from the sheer devastation that Typhoon Odette brought just five months previous. With your help, we were able to donate 35,000 pesos (equivalent to over $620 USD) from the Sumpa Kita panuelo sales to the local organization Nature Kids of Siargao. These funds went directly towards food and schooling programs for the children in Burgos, the northern region of Siargao, which was hit the hardest during Typhoon Odette. Your generosity went a long way in helping the local communities get back on their feet fast.

By late May, Syd and I were back in Toronto getting ready to take a scouting trip to Los Angeles, by the end of June. This was the year we decided to have Sydney move to LA from Ohio. In large part because during the pandemic, Syd’s application for a work visa to Canada was canceled when borders closed. And there was a period where parcels got stuck in Chicago along with millions of others. We decided to fast forward on a long-term goal to have Sydney just move to LA, since a large majority of our customers are in California anyway.

Day two of our scouting trip in LA, we found a gorgeous apartment built in 1937, and signed a lease! Shout out to Anna Marie Cruz Entrepinayship for connecting us with Reg and Bettina Gregorio, our real estate brokers who went to bat for us.

Fast forward to August, Sydney has moved in, and I flew back to furnish the apartment with her and hold our first salon event to screen Filipina-American filmmaker Jill Sach’s beautiful, experimental short, VINTA Diwata. We are so grateful to already have such an enchanting and brilliant community of Filipino/a/xs in Los Angeles. Special shout out to Derek and Emily Basco #teambasco for blessing us with Ninong and Ninang vibes before we even landed in LA. And Ginger Lim-Dimapasok (along with Derek and Emily), who have been our unofficial brand PR team who bigs us up at every given opportunity and have connected us with the most illustrious rolodex of Filipinos ever. So much love for you all!

Our first Filipino American History Month in Los Angeles was nothing short of auspicious. Sydney worked the Filipino community event circuit armed with a terno and her charm and was constantly being approached with an, “Omg, are you VINTA?!” which we love because it speaks to the authenticity of our connection with the people who follow us online. It really made it real *clutches heart* which is so so meaningful to us, as a small owner-operated little shop out of Toronto, Canada. And Syd’s dreams came true when she got invited to the annual NIKE sponsored FAHM event by Noodles herself, whom we made a couture terno corset in rubberized denim with lace sleeves.

We ended up dressing, not only Noodles, but kind of like the illest crew of Filipinxs at that event!

DJ Noodles in a VINTA Couture Terno Corset
Guapdad 4000 in VINTA's Pamanang Paniniwala Biggie Barong

I think the icing on the cake that is the move to Los Angeles is the big splash we made at the A-list Asian prom that is the Unforgettable Gala. Connections with some of the city’s best stylists got us one of my absolute favourite designs I have done this year on Bella Poarch (which she obviously ate)!!!

Bella Poarch in VINTA Couture at the Unforgettable Gala

Another highlight was dressing Eugene Cordero, who was the host of the gala. What was so gratifying about being able to dress Euguene is his utter fearlessness and trust, a true Filipino fashion icon in our eyes!

Aside from these special events and big moves, OMG, the #VINTAspotted hashtag was poppin’ all year long! For me the most prestigious #VINTAspotted get was Nobel Prize Laureate (2021), Maria Ressa. When I was invited to the Brilliance Ball in Vancouver in September, I had the opportunity to dress Miss Ressa, who I believe should be a national hero of the Philippines. A big thank you to her sweet sister Michelle who is also her trusted stylist. I was just beside myself when they both wore VINTA to George and Amal Clooney’s inaugural foundation gala in New York City in late September.

Nobel Prize Laureate Maria Ressa with Caroline
The #VINTAspotted hashtag is a beautiful way for us to see our community sharing their best days and best dressed days in VINTA ‘fits. Thank you, VINTA lovers! Our atelier staff in Manila were particularly impressed and excited that their creations made it on Philippine stars, Liza Soberano and James Reid.

We launched a bunch of exciting new designs, as well as restocked much loved pieces. We also launched an extensive freshwater Palawan pearl jewelry collection, which has been a dream of mine.

As the year of the Water Tiger comes to a close, we feel hopeful in the sustainability of the business and our employees and their families. 2022 brought us another year of fortuitous growth and expansion, even in this increasingly volatile economic landscape — which we are forever grateful for. We definitely feel excited about continuing to connect with our community, in Los Angeles and beyond.

2023 promises to be another exciting turn for VINTA Gallery. I am so excited to tell you that we will be launching our very own lower priced bridge collection, PAMANA Collection by VINTA Gallery. Simpler designs yet still the handcrafted heirloom quality and, of course, the ultra chic, fashion-forward, modern Filipiniana design people count on from us. And we will be bringing back our special order service so that you can order that one particular piece in the size you need.

We are forever grateful for the community we have gathered around VINTA Gallery. Thank you for celebrating our culture and our gorgeousness and showing out with us. Despite the complexities of life these days, the contradictions we have to balance, we try to focus on being not driven by profit, but by sustainability and trying our best to make an honest living doing what we love and thriving. Such a simple aspiration that takes so much work!

Maraming salamat sa inyong suporta. Ikinahahalaga po namin ito. Sana ang inyong bagong taon ay maliwanag at puno ng biyaya 💖


Caroline Mangosing and the VINTA Gallery Team