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Collaboration with Filip + Inna takes Bayo down the ethnic path

Filip + Inna woman: Jasmine Curtis-Smith wears an embroidered Bayo jacket, designed by Len Cabili

MANILA, Philippines - Doing a designer-and-RTW collaboration is a popular, well-trod move that plenty of local brands have taken, resulting in varying degrees in success.

Now, clothing label Bayo has joined in on the trend, unveiling their first designer collaboration collection last Monday at the brand’s Glorietta branch. Tunics with embroidered necklines and sleeves, chambray shirts with collars and panels featuring ethnic prints, and tweed-looking shorts that feature traditional weaving patterns — the pieces mix modern clothing sensibilities with meticulous detailing that are notably Filipino in their color combinations and patterns.  

It is a collection that’s a result of a long process: Since June, Bayo owners Lynn Agustin and Corcor Bitong had been in talks with designer Len Cabili and her label Filip + Inna to conceptualize an RTW presentation that will be different from everything else in the market. Filip + Inna, established in 2011, is known for working with various groups of artisans from all over the country to create special, handmade garments using ancient techniques in weaving, embroidery, and beadwork. For the special Bayo collection, Cabili called on the embroidery mastery of 43 T’boli women based in Lake Sebu, South Cotabato to embellish some of the brand’s contemporary wardrobe staples using intricate patterns she has designed, patterns rarely seen in the mass clothing market.

“The process was we sent over the clothes to Lake Sebu, where the T’boli embroiderers worked to cross-stitch these patterns designed by Len onto the pieces,” Bayo general manager Pinky Estrebillo shared. “Then, they sent the finished products back to Manila. The collection took a while to get done because of the elaborate patterns that the women worked on, making these clothes really special pieces.”

“There’s soul that comes out in each clothing piece because the embroiderers spent time on them,” Cabili added. “The patterns I designed were based on the T’boli’s traditional patterns so the women worked within the confines of something familiar to them. That’s what Filip + Inna is about: working with artisans. We bring the clothes to wherever they are so they work within their communities and are still able to look after their families and the farm. At the same time, they’re realizing that they can earn a living with this skill that’s so innate to their indigenous group.”

Modeling the clothes during the collection launch was Bayo’s latest endorser Jasmine Curtis-Smith, who wore the striking Diolina blazer with a shirt and a pair of denims. “The clothes are beautiful and handmade — who wouldn’t want to wear them?” she remarked.

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The Bayo and Filip + Inna collection comes in limited quantity, with only 150 pieces available per design. They’re available in select Bayo stores around Metro Manila.

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