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Modern Living

Now you can clutch those vintage obis

SAVOIR FAIRE - Mayenne Carmona -

What does a former Under secretary do after she helps people nationwide by creating business and jobs?

Before she resigned from her post as Undersecretary of Regional Operations, Carissa Cruz Evangelista worked on the development of the One Town, One Product (OTOP) program at the Department of Trade and Industry from 2004 to 2008 and led her group to generate a total of P6.88 billion in investments, $314 million in exports and P7.453 billion in domestic sales. She was also a great supporter of the development of the ICT (Information Communication Technology) hubs outside Metro Manila (where call centers, business process outsourcing and animation centers now operate) and the development of the Philippine National Standards for Halal as Undersecretary.

Prior to her post, she worked at Morgan Stanley in a team that managed $100 million in investments, a venture capital company, co-founded a post-production company and food retail company, and worked as a project manager at CITEM (Center for International Trade Expositions and Missions) for exporters’ garments, fashion accessories, and leather goods to Japan, Hong Kong, and Dubai.

Now, Carissa is trying to discover what else she is passionate about aside from her lovely daughter, Isabella Beatriz, her husband, Juju, and her family. In Carissa’s case, after being exposed to the artisans of Cebu, Bulacan, Pampanga, Bicol, Paete, Zamboanga, the Cordilleras, Lake Sebu, and all the regions of the Philippines in her work with OTOP and her travels abroad, she decided to create beautiful bags and obi belts made out of vintage obi textiles, embroidered with Swarovski crystals and delicate beads from Japan, Bangkok, and Hong Kong. She created a collection of accessories in rich jewel colors, silver, solids and printed designs. Her next collections will incorporate inspirations from various places she has lived and visited in her life. Japan, Paris, Russia, San Francisco, Boston, New York, Peru, Germany, China, Bohol, Basilan, Agusan del Norte, Tuguegarao, Pangasinan, Dumuaguete, Siquijor, Iloilo, and Palawan are among the places that have influenced her.

“Like Michelangelo saw David in the marble, I began to see so many beautiful things when I came across the vintage obi textiles I purchased,” Carissa says. From the textiles, she worked with a manufacturer to execute the gorgeous evening clutches and obi belts that will be sold at all Firma outlets very soon. It will also be sold in selected boutiques around Asia, Europe, and the USA.

“These bags are an expression of the beauty that I see in the material,” she says. “I hope one day, I will be able to do more with Philippine textiles and textiles from other cultures, and translate the richness of their design into more accessories.” 

For now, visions of Japanese pagodas, richly embroidered silks, sparkling crystals, and the freshness of cherry blossoms bear the name Beatriz, the brand she has given the bags. “The bags are named after my daughter, Isabella Beatriz,” Carissa says.

Her two “Beatrizes” give the designer much joy: “Part of being whole is expressing who you are and bringing forth something greater than yourself.”

* * *

The Beatriz collections will be available locally at Firma Greenbelt 3, Firma TriNoma and Felicity Edsa Shangri-La. For more information, e-mail CarissaEvangelista@gmail.com.

BEATRIZ CARISSA CARISSA CRUZ EVANGELISTA DEPARTMENT OF TRADE AND INDUSTRY FELICITY EDSA SHANGRI-LA FIRMA GREENBELT HONG KONG IN CARISSA INFORMATION COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY ISABELLA BEATRIZ
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