Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?


Filipino fashion by way of Switzerland

SWISS and Filipino fabrics were woven together during a fashion show at a party celebrating the 65th anniversary of Swiss-Filipino diplomatic relations on Nov. 29.

The roof deck of the Zuellig Building served as the runway for Pampinay, made by Filipina designers Pamela Gotangco and Christian Belaro. Both are artists residing in Europe; Ms. Gotangco lives and works in Switzerland, while Ms. Belaro is in London.

For the show, the designers put together lace from St. Gallen, deadstock fabric from Swiss factories, and combined them with their own designs, plus Filipino indigenous fabrics like binakol and inabel. Ms. Gotangco told BusinessWorld in an interview that they source their fabrics from Abra and Ilocos (as well as from actress Dina Bonnevie, who has herself started a business with indigenous fabrics), and then have the T’boli people of Mindanao do the beadwork. However, a bulk of their operations rely on a team of seamstresses from Taytay, Rizal the site of many garment factories near the capital.

“It’s my advocacy,” said Ms. Gotangco. “I’m Filipino. Even if I am a global Filipina, I take it as my responsibility to be able to help my countrymen.”

The business started in March 2021 with a single T-shirt with a slogan that she made craving for pinakbet (a native Filipino stew of vegetables in fish sauce). “If I’m going to do this, I will do it properly. It has to have some support to the lives of other women in the Philippines.”

Since the creation of the business, they have since built a foundation and cooperative called Bayanihan Spirit, in the form of a co-working space with sewing machines for women who don’t have their own. They have started with one machine, and at her count, they now have eight sewing machines in the space.

They take a slow fashion approach to clothing, so many pieces are one-of-a-kind or produced in limited numbers. Asked for the importance of this approach, she said, “I don’t want to make clothing that would end up in the landfill after two, three, four years.

“There’s no Planet B,” she said.

Their usual fare includes pairing their designs (inspired by pop art and Filipino exclamations) with Filipino indigenous fabrics. The limited collection shown during the party with the Swiss Embassy is just a first step towards a similar approach. These included designs approaching the avant-garde, with jeans paired with paillettes made with binakol or inabel, or else camouflage fabrics in the shape of a terno paired with the Swiss lace.

The business is quite young, and the limited numbers they produce won’t exactly be seen on thousands — in fashion, success is usually measured by how many people want to wear your work. Ms. Gotangco measures success differently. “Success is not measured by metrics of money, power, or fame. It could also be measured by the impact that you created in other people’s lives,” she said.

“It doesn’t work as much as currency, or how much money you make out of it, but how people will remember you, or how you’ve helped them, and how others would learn from you.”

Visit for more items. — Joseph L. Garcia

Your information is secure and your privacy is protected. By opting in you agree to receive emails from us. Remember that you can opt-out any time, we hate spam too!



STOCKS continued to decline on Tuesday on faster-than-expected January inflation that fueled expectations of another big rate hike by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas...


PHILIPPINE STAR/ WALTER BOLLOZOS THE PESO sank to the P55-per-dollar level on Tuesday as January headline inflation was faster than expected and amid hawkish...


President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. answers questions from the media after his first Cabinet meeting in Malacañan Palace, July 5, 2022. — PHILIPPINE STAR/ KRIZ...


REUTERS AGRICULTURE industry representatives said the government has not adequately supported farmers in achieving competitiveness against imports, which they called a necessary step before...


POLLOC FREEPORT AND ECOZONE — BARMM FACEBOOK PAGE THE classification of economic zone logistics services enterprises (ELSEs) as eligible for incentives under the Strategic...


BW FILE PHOTO A BILL that requires real estate investment trusts (REITs) to reinvest proceeds from their fundraising activities in the Philippines has been...

You May Also Like


COVID-19 has had a significant impact on the mental health of Filipinos across different groups all over the archipelago. From frontline workers, parents balancing...


REUTERS By Luz Wendy T. Noble, Reporter The country’s foreign exchange buffers slightly increased as of end-October as the value of the central bank’s...


BW FILE PHOTO GROSS BORROWINGS by the National Government reached P2.6 trillion as of end-September as it continued to raise funds to respond to...


KARASOLAR.COM TENA, Ecuador — Ecuador’s rainforest Achuar people say their ancestors long dreamed of a “fire canoe” or “electric fish” that would let them...

Disclaimer: Respect, its managers, its employees, and assigns (collectively "The Company") do not make any guarantee or warranty about what is advertised above. Information provided by this website is for research purposes only and should not be considered as personalized financial advice. The Company is not affiliated with, nor does it receive compensation from, any specific security. The Company is not registered or licensed by any governing body in any jurisdiction to give investing advice or provide investment recommendation. Any investments recommended here should be taken into consideration only after consulting with your investment advisor and after reviewing the prospectus or financial statements of the company.

Copyright © 2022 Respect Investment. All Rights Reserved.