OMG, it’s ONJ

Nenet Galang-Pereña (The Philippine Star) - December 31, 2015 - 9:00am

MANILA, Philippines – Heroism will never go out of style, if one will see the wonderful apparel line from Obra ni Juan and hear the crusade for health and fitness from its celebrity endorser, Rafael Rosell.

The Agapito siblings who cast their lot in their home-grown company despite the sagging economy in 1997 has come full force again to introduce their newest collection, Organic Barong ni Juan dela Cruz at the period restaurant Victorino’s in Timog. The old world ambiance of the venue matched the charm of the product being launched. Those present in the event could only gasp “Oh my God,” delighted over the clean lines and elegant details of the 50-percent cotton and 50-percent wood pulp masterpieces of Obra ni Juan, as well as over the Norway-born Rafael, who was featured in Cosmopolitan Philippines’ Hottest Bachelor list and was recently named as one of the 15 Hottest Hunks Ever, donning the ensemble.

Like a Pygmalion pursuing his Galatea, Obra ni Juan has found its perfect model in Rafael. As Del-Z, the eldest in the family, explains: “Our creations very much fit the multi-faceted personality of Rafael, as he can be very elegant, sporty, or casual as the scenario demands.” This woman should know, having studied fashion design in the Philippines and marketing in Nurnberg, Germany. Thus, they signed Rafael up again for a new contract, banking on his charm and depth to propagate the essence of their brand — distinctly Filipino in concept but world-class in craftsmanship.





Rodel and Ranel have an epic story to tell: “Despite the Asian crisis in the late ‘90s, we persevered with our label, starting with a small patahian of only 40 square meters in Antipolo with around 10 employees. We had to do back-breaking work, from conceptualization to personally delivering the products to hotel lobby shops, catering to the local and foreign tourist market. We had our big break when we were commissioned to serve the high-end patrons of Amanpulo Resort in Palawan.” The rest is history, as the cliché goes, with Obra ni Juan (or ONJ for short) capturing Robinsons, Crossings, Sta. Lucia, Trinoma and lately, SM through the Kultura section.  

“We have established 70 outlets nationwide and will be opening several outlets more before the year ends, capitalizing on the concept of Bayanihan sa Obra Ni Juan, where management and work force are in harmony to keep our edge in the very competitive apparel business,“ Agnes and Charito, who are in charge of marketing, say.

Growing side by side with ONJ is La Obra, Susan’s quest to capture the women’s sector with the understated elegance of her blouses and shift dresses. “We put a premium in the fabrics we choose — for comfort and durability, and we even dye them to perfection, so no two clothes of the same design are identical,” she adds.

Rafael, who is as trim as ever, has his heroic narrative to tell over his healthy lunch of salad greens: His and sibling’s staunch decision to opt for alternative treatment for their mother’s cancer. “Medical cannabis has been used since ancient times, and we have to do research on this, so that a viable choice will be available to more people, other than the invasive protocols in use today,” he emphatically states as Europe and Northern America have been supporting for its legalization. He is also a proud vegetarian who considers self-discipline necessary for surviving in the precarious world of showbiz. He now co-stars with Gabby Concepcion and Carla Abellana in the GMA teleserye, Because of You.

With a product like Obra ni Juan and an endorser like Rafael, heroism and Filipino haute couture will never go out of fashion.

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